College Connection helps pave the way for budding students – Chico Enterprise-Record

OROVILLE — The College Connection Program seeks students entering their senior year of high school in the Oroville Union High School District to attend Butte College while completing their senior year of high school.

College Connection, which was established 30 years ago, offers new high school students from Chico, Oroville, and Paradise the opportunity to spend their senior year at Butte College, earn their general education college credits, and complete their senior year of high school. Students typically complete an average of 22 college units. They are able to explore different interests and specializations and can participate in clubs and activities at Butte College.

“This is a great opportunity,” said Julie Decker, Coordinator/Advisor for Oroville College Connection. “Looks awesome on college apps.”

Decker will retire in June 2022 after 23 years with College Connection. She taught for two years at Colusa and also taught at Oroville High School for eight years before joining College Connection. A new adviser, Sammy Burnett, will take Decker’s place after his retirement. Burnett is excited to return to the program, according to Decker. Burnett taught for the Oroville Union High School district for 20 years. He has a background in government and economics and is involved in the recruitment process.

Decker enjoyed his work working with the students.

“I liked the idea of ​​working with the students individually,” Decker said. “I love this work and the connection with the students.”

One of Decker’s students received a full ride to Vassar College. “College Connection helped with that. This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Decker said. “We are pioneers.”

Students can take courses at Butte College, which counts not only for their college credits, but also for their high school credits. For example, if they need to take a visual or performing arts course, they can take a popular music course at Butte College.

Students are not required to be advanced placement students to participate. At present, students from Chico and Paradise have already been accepted. Program advisors are therefore looking for students in Oroville.

Students who participate in College Connection learn college survival skills in a classroom setting. They are required to meet with a college counselor for five hours per week.

“They get together in class and get structure and it’s a safe place on campus to meet other people,” Decker said. “We meet and review any issues they may have. We encourage students to use the resources available to them.

Butte College’s Academic Success Center also offers free one-to-one tutoring.

“The main comment I hear is that students are thrilled to be around people who are there to learn,” Decker said. “It’s an opportunity for young people to really learn how to grow up and successfully navigate college. This generation of students does not like talking to people. This teaches them to go to their teacher or counselor. They are encouraged to do so, which helps them when they are alone at university.

“I have students who come back and see me and say, ‘I was so prepared for college,'” Decker said.

There is no cost for the application. Butte College also has a promised scholarship, which allows any senior two years of tuition and free fees for full-time students.

Students continued after college to travel all over the world and became doctors, lawyers and teachers, according to Decker. A former student is vice president of a company in Taiwan. Students teach English in China and Vietnam.

“College Connection opens doors and builds student confidence,” Decker said. “I tell the students it’s very funny, because I didn’t have a good experience in high school, but look at what I chose to do for a career.”

Alumni have nothing but good things to say about College Connection.

“The College Connection program has been the best decision in my academic journey so far. Before entering the program, I worried about college. How would the classes be? What is my major? Will I like college? With the help of the College Connection program, in addition to the AP test credits, I was able to complete 33 units. I discovered more about myself in that year than in the three years I spent at Las Plumas,” said Las Plumas High School alumnus Connor Musler. He now attends UC Irvine.

“It’s a phenomenal program,” said alumnus Avalon Vang. “During College Connection, I was offered to join the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society at Butte College for having a 4.0 GPA or higher. Along with that, I was able to join an Asian Pacific Islander event via Zoom, where everything started. I met my college counselor who is absolutely wonderful. With his help I was able to start my study plan for my major. I was also able to meet the director of guidance of Butte College with whom I was connected to become an Orientation Leader at Butte College. In this job, I helped incoming high school students, returning students, and transfer students enroll classes, answer all their questions, and show them how Butte College works. Working with this incredible team of students, I learned so much about being a true leader and what it means to to be a student. It was a pleasure to work r with Julie Decker.

The deadline for Oroville Union High School District students applying to College Connection for the 2022-2023 school year is February 17. Application is open to all students. Applications for the College Connection program can be found on each high school’s website.

About Myra R.

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