A head start in college

Yusheng Xia , Editor in Chief

Senior year is often the time when most students start filling out their student profiles and typing out their personal statements in preparation for their college applications. However, due to the advanced curriculum at Diamond Bar High School, there exists the opportunity to finish one’s high school career early and continue his or her education at community college. By passing the California High School Proficiency Examination, former DBHS students Wynne Lee and Brandon Kwong have started taking classes at Mt. SAC and received a wide range of possibilities for their futures.

For Lee, the switch from high school to community college offered a change of environment and the opportunity to speed up her years of education. Lee started taking classes at Mt. SAC after her first semester as a junior at DBHS. She took four classes her first semester at Mt. SAC and had a four-day schedule that consisted of Advanced Drawing, English, Interior Design, and Interior Design Lab. Lee sees the difference between high school and college as the freedom for students in terms of the classes taken and the school environment.

“I think I enjoy the freeness of college. It makes you feel like you’re working on your future. It’s not bad,” Lee said.

In addition to the difference in classroom settings, Lee feels a change in the interaction with college students as well.

“People in college are more mature, respectful, and friendly. There’s not that much time for interaction though, but people still go out of their way to sometimes say ‘Hi,’” Lee said.

Lee is currently taking the semester off, as she works full-time to raise enough money in order to move out in a couple of months. She plans on restarting class next semester with dreams of transferring to Cal State Long Beach, where she eyes majoring in a subject in the design field.

Meanwhile, the high cost of college pushed Brandon Kwong into finding his own creative way of saving money. For Kwong, attending community college early allows him to obtain college credits while slowly saving money to transfer to a different university. Kwong started taking courses at Mt. SAC during what would have been his senior year at DBHS. He is currently taking Spanish, Macroeconomics, Calculus, and Gothic Art history, and has spread out his class schedule so that he attends class every other day. While he doesn’t believe the class size and setup is any different from high school, Kwong said that students take on much more responsibility for their own learning in community college.

“Everything is much more independent. If you’re missing an assignment, teachers are most of the time not going to go up to you and ask you about it. And if you don’t understand a concept, a lot of times you either have to figure it out yourself or attempt to contact a professor to answer your questions,” Kwong said

Kwong plans on becoming a Business Accounting and Management major and transferring to either a UC College or to USC. In his time at community college, he believes that he has become a more mature individual compared to when he was at DBHS. Yet, despite the enjoyments of College life, there are still things Kwong misses about high school.

“I really like the diversity. The people you meet can be of all different ethnicities and backgrounds, and meeting diverse people allows you to see what’s it’s like in the adult world, Kwong said. “While I pretty much miss the teachers and my friends, I definitely don’t miss the school lunch [at DBHS].”