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Students scramble for community college classes

August 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
With the troubled economy, a lot of people were hoping to put their time to good use by going to college. But that's not turning out as easy as hoped. There's a shortage of classes and an overflow of students.

The crunch is coming. You apply for admission, colleges determine whether you are eligible, then, once admitted, you hunt for the classes you want -- but there's no guarantee you'll get in.

It is a race to get into the community college classroom, and not everyone will make it. After trying for months, freshman Hannah Kang cannot get the history course she wanted.

"First day I am going to come in really early and try to get added in," said Glendale resident Hannah Kang.

Unable to enroll, students get set to "crash" classes.

"Until people either drop or more room opens up in that class, so essentially at least until a week until the semester," said Sun Valley resident Devin Doherty.

"We are bursting at the seams, we are trying to accommodate," said Pasadena City College (PCC) Vice President of Educational Services Bob Miller.

Community colleges across the state are struggling to provide core classes, with $400 million less to work with.

PCC, like many campuses, is trying to minimize the impact.

It's becoming a common practice, called "swirling": Trying to enroll at several campuses.

"A popular combination is either PCC and Mount [San Antonio College]; or PCC and Glendale," said PCC Student Trustee Alexander Soto. "Usually try to stay also the L.A. city colleges and GCC and PCC, try to get those combinations going. And sometimes even trying to get a class at each of those schools. And the institution doesn't want to turn away students that obviously want to get an education."

Another tactic: lobby like crazy. Some students even buy the textbook to show the instructor they are serious.

"Our faculty have been incredibly good about taking as many students they possible can into their classrooms without sacrificing quality, at the same time recognizing the needs of our students," said Miller.

PCC also advises that if you are given a date to register, don't miss that date, because you could lose your place in line. Also, persist. Don't give up.

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