High school students, parents get a ‘Taste of College’

PUHI — There are several ways prospective students to post-high school education can get a taste of college, and some of these were outlined during the Taste of College, Tuesday evening.

Hosted by the Kaua‘i Community College, about a hundred high school students, from the 10th through 12th grades, and their parents filled the fine dining room to find out more about the options for education beyond high school.

Debbi Matsumoto, who has a daughter that is a high school junior, said, “It’s about time we start thinking about college.”

Helen Cox, the chancellor at KCC, said higher education is a lifelong asset. It can be the key to increased wages and move people forward to their dreams.

But college is different from high school and part of the Taste of College program is to provide tools so prospective higher education students can get ahead.

Cox said a recent survey done by the college discovered that Kaua‘i residents want to stay here, but that becomes difficult without higher education.

To that end, Cox said KCC offers a number of different degree programs including a new program where students who apply to the University of Hawai‘i and are accepted, are able to complete two years of coursework at any of the Hawai‘i system schools, including the Kaua‘i Community College.

Rhonda Liu, the host for the evening and one of the KCC counselors, pointed out that could result in savings for students entering college.

In a Powerpoint presentation, tuition at the University of Hawai‘i is more than $2,900 for 12 credits. That does not include other expenses such as student activity fees, books and housing.

At KCC, the 12 credits would cost the student $852, not including the books, student fees and housing.

For Kaua‘i students who are staying at home, that could result in a large savings due to not needing to worry about housing costs.

Additionally, Liu said there are two programs at KCC which allow students to get a taste of college while still in high school. These include the Early Admit program which is open to juniors and seniors, and the Running Start program which has met with a tremendous success rate of more than 90 percent of enrolled students getting passing marks.

Liu was on hand to help students with these two programs following the formalized program that literally walked the students and parents through the enrollment process at KCC. That was a fitting follow-up to the campus tour which was offered prior to the start of the program.

Some of the benefits of enrolling at KCC include smaller class sizes, lower tuition, close-to-home, and a caring and knowledgeable faculty which allows the students better opportunity to learn, Cox said.

“We are very much a part of the community,” Cox said. “With new generations, there are new learning styles, but the most important reason is that when I got here as a new chancellor, I was impressed with the supportive and nurturing environment that is created by the staff. I cannot emphasize enough how this special individualized treatment by the staff filters down to the student.”

Liu encouraged parents and students to visit the KCC Web site to discover the many facets the site covers, including menus for its cafeteria and fine dining program.

That Web site is www.kauai.hawaii.edu

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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