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The Lookout | February 28, 2021

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Students step toward success with CTL support

Students step toward success with CTL support

Shelby  Schueller
News Editor

For some students, the hardest part about college is final exams. For others, it is getting the placement scores to get into college level classes.

The Center for Transitional Learning (CTL) at LCC is designed to help these students.

The CTL is an academic department that offers classes to students in order to transition them to college, according to Jaime Grant, CTL Academic Coordinator. The classes are paid for through tuition.

Grant holds one of two administrative positions. The other is held by Cheryl Garayta, director for CTL.

Eligible students include those who are transitioning from high school, returning to school and those who need an extra boost.

“Many of our students would not even get the opportunity to see what college was like if it were not for what we do here,” Grant said.

According to Grant, the main goal of CTL is to teach students what is expected of them and help them achieve college level readiness in academics, especially in reading and writing. Some CTL programs incorporate career and life readiness as well.

CTL has two tracts, according to Grant. The first is for students with English as a second language, which takes five semesters from the beginning. The second is for native English speakers, which can be finished in a year depending on if the student is full-time or part-time.

In addition to these tracts, CTL offers GED completion programs, an Arithmetic Boost Program (which involves one-on-one tutoring to help students increase math scores) and partnerships that connect students to resources such as academic advising.

According to Grant, 2,656 students were enrolled in one or more CTL classes in the 2014 academic year. Since then, the number of students has been approximately 2,500 students, with a success rate of about 70 percent overall, Grant said.

There is no application process, according to Grant. Usually students are referred to CTL through other departments, or after not placing at college level on academic placement tests, such as AccuPlacer or ACT. Some students take CTL classes in order to re-familiarize themselves with school.

Grant said these low scores often do not reflect reluctance to learn.

“These students honestly they want to come to school, they want to get degrees, but they’re not necessarily sure how to go about getting it,” she said. “They might not have the family support.”

LCC student Savannah Irby got her GED through CTL in the program that ran from March to October 2015.

Irby said the best part about taking classes with CTL was the supportiveness of the instructors.

“Emotionally, without them, I have no idea where I would be, I just know that they just helped me out a lot,” Irby said. “Without the class, I wouldn’t have my job, I wouldn’t have the classes I do. I wouldn’t be succeeding, pretty much.”

Irby began falling behind in school when she was in eighth grade due to family problems. She dropped out of high school when she was 16. Irby said having two children encouraged her to return to school.

She entered the program without placing a college level in the math placement test and left the program with a score of 6.

“There was one thing that they told me that I want everyone to know,” Irby said. “Your brain is a muscle. It’s just like going to the gym. You work out and lift 50 pounds but say, ‘Oh my gosh; it’s too heavy. I need to put it down.’

“But you don’t give up; you go down a little bit more. You go down to 25 pounds and that’s comfortable. Then 25 pounds becomes light and so you go to 50 and there you are at your goal. Your brain is a lot like that.”

Irby said she plans to take LCC classes in the spring, get an associate degree in Criminal Justice, join the police academy, and then get a bachelor’s degree with the goal to become a homicide detective.

“(Students) come into contact with people who truly care and really work hard to help reach them and get them information that they need,” Grant said. “For those students who persist, I think that it makes a world of difference. I think that even for those students who don’t come back, at least not immediately … they get a taste of what the possibilities are.”

Students who would like more information about CTL are encouraged to visit the department, located in room 107 of the Arts and Sciences Building on LCC’s main campus.