Move Mountains with the First-Year Experience Program at ACC

Arapahoe Community College is the perfect place to begin moving mountains with your academic and career goals. The ACC First-Year Experience program (FYE at ACC) is designed to help new students – those attending college for the first time – succeed with their higher education aspirations.

FYE at ACC is comprised of the Summer Bridge program, New Student Orientation, academic planning & career assessment, our AAA 101 Student Experience course, and attendance at a student engagement series event.

Summer Bridge is ACC’s way to connect future ACC students to campus resources. Targeted at recently-graduated high school students, this program includes a week of activities, instruction and information critical to college success. Summer Bridge is free of charge and includes lunch each day.

New student orientation will speed the transition to college by providing the information and resources needed to begin classes at ACC. Students learn how to be successful while setting long-term college goals and structuring their class schedule with our academic advisors.

AAA 101 introduces students to college culture and success strategies through a series of interactive classes. The course covers soft and hard skills necessary for students to be successful during their college career.

“It is amazing to see the growth of students from day one, to the last day of class,” said Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager and AAA 101 instructor. “They come away from the course with tools and knowledge that will last a lifetime.”

We recognize that everything college-related won’t be covered in a classroom. That’s where the student engagement series comes in. These face-to-face activities are designed to help students get on track and stay on track, while making college connections. Events range from financial aid workshops to academic planning to personal budgeting.

“The First-Year Experience program is very helpful,” stated ACC student Briana Pham. “Especially for students who may be undecided about what they want to do.”

ACC provides an affordable education (lowest tuition among state-funded schools) with instructors who are experts in their field. We offer seven degree and certificate pathways, and over 200 online classes. Small class sizes at ACC allow students to receive individual attention, and we’re close to home with campuses in Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock.

Connect with ACC and begin your journey today. Stop by the Littleton campus Welcome Center or contact our enrollment specialists at acc.info@arapahoe.edu / 303.797.5637.

 by Jeff Duggan (ACC Communications Coordinator), Stuart Boyd (ACC Student Engagement Coordinator) and Karen Browning (ACC Marketing Project Manager)

Prior Learning Assessment – How to get college credit for your experience

ACC student in 2nd floor student loungeWhen it comes to college, I think we can all agree that we just want our school studies to be over and done with ASAP so that we can move on with our lives and start making an honest living. So, you may be wondering, “Is there a way that I can maybe speed things up a bit?” Maybe you have some experience that could trim some time off of your time in college…if so, wouldn’t you want to know about it??

I’m Allison Lemmertz, the Graduation & Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator here at ACC. While I’m not the ultimate authority in granting you these potential college credit short-cuts, I am certainly here to help get you the information you need to see if your prior learning experiences are worth something!

What is “Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)”?

The formal definition of prior learning assessment, according to the American Council on Education, is “learning gained outside the college classroom in a variety of settings and through formal and non-formal means…”. Here at ACC we recognize 3 main formats of PLA:

  1. Prior learning through examination
  2. Prior learning through industry certification or licensure
  3. Prior learning through portfolio

If you completed any AP coursework in high school, don’t underestimate those! Students in the past have earned up to half of their associate’s degree from AP scores!

Exams that you can take for college credit include: CLEP, DSST, AP, IB, and UExcel, which are standardized tests. Other exams that you can take are done through different ACC departments (based on subject area). These are our challenge exams. We currently offer challenge exams for:

  • Mathematics
  • Health Information Technology
  • Medical Office Technology
  • Graphic Design
  • Computer-Aided Drafting
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Computer Networking

If you’re interested in testing from one of the subject areas listed above, please get in contact with me, and I’ll provide you with the necessary paperwork to get started as well as get you in contact with the appropriate program/department chair.

Industry Certification or Licensure is another key area where you may be eligible for college credit. At ACC, our most recognized industry certifications for credit are:

  • Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification
  • National Registry of EMT (NREMT) certification
  • AAPC Certified Inpatient Coder (CIC) certification
  • AAPC Certified Professional Coder (CPC) certification
  • AHIMA Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) certification
  • CompTIA A+ certification
  • CompTIA Network +
  • CompTIA Security +
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching (CCNA) Part 1
  • Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching (CCNA) Part 2

Military training and service also falls under the realm of PLA, so if you have that experience, please have your joint services transcript sent to ACC for transcript evaluation.

How does Prior Learning Assessment work?

Prior learning Assessment is a team effort! As the student, it is up to you to initiate the communication to request college credit from your prior learning experience. You will communicate with your program chair as well as me (Allison Lemmertz- Allison.lemmertz@arapahoe.edu), the Graduation & Prior Learning Assessment Coordinator here at ACC to get the ball rolling.

As with any other college credits, please also keep in mind that we can only bring in college credits that apply to your major or program! So, for instance, if you have certification in Cisco Networking, but you’re enrolled in an English degree, then that certification doesn’t help your progress- sorry.

What kinds of experience can I get credit for?

Generally speaking, your best chance of receiving college credits is fairly limited to the exams and certifications mentioned previously. We do, however, also offer credit for portfolio on occasion, although it is rare. Please just note these are typically on a case-by-case basis, and it is up to the program chair to offer or accept credit by portfolio.

Instances of prior learning assessment via portfolio that I have seen be successful include art, communication, and early childhood education. This isn’t to say that no other portfolios will be considered, so when in doubt, please feel free to ask us!

Is there a cost for Prior Learning Assessment?

Unfortunately, nothing is free, and when it comes to PLA, the same applies. Our fees for PLA vary, depending on the format of PLA as well as the credits. Please see the cost breakdown below for our different formats of PLA.

PLA by Exam PLA by Certification/Licensure PLA by Portfolio
$45 per credit hour $75 (flat rate; credit hour total doesn’t affect fee) $65 per credit hour

How is this different from the Alternative Credit Project?

While prior learning assessment falls under the realm of ‘alternative credit’, the Alternative Credit Project (ACP) is its own beast. The ACP includes a specific pool of courses that ACC will accept, and this project was agreed upon by the American Council on Education (ACE) and grant-supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. Get specific information on the alternative credit project.

If you have any questions or want to see if your experience could lead to college credit, I am available to help. Contact me at allison.lemmertz@arapahoe.edu or call 303.797.5630. I’d be happy to discuss the possibility of getting you credit for your experience!

How to Work a Career Fair

Attend the 2018 Career Fair,
11 am – 2 pm, Wednesday, March 28 in the Summit Room to meet over 60 employers interested in talking to you! All industries are represented. Come with your resume, questions, and dressed to impress.

 


Career fairs are an efficient way to connect with potential employers. Preparation, communication, and follow-up are the keys to making a career fair an interesting, fun, and valuable experience.  In addition to seeking employment, other reasons to attend a career fair include:

If you are unsure about choosing a career field, use the career fair as a way to explore different pathways and employers. Approach employers, introduce yourself, and tell the representative that you are currently making some career and academic choices and would like to know more about their organization and opportunities. They will probably tell you some general information about their mission and provide you with some literature.

If your career field or desired position is not represented, use the fair to network for additional contacts. Select employers who might potentially use your career field and approach them. Introduce yourself and, as an example, tell the representative that you know the organization is recruiting for engineers, but that you are interested in a marketing position and ask about these opportunities. Next, ask if the representative could provide a name of a contact for these positions. The recruiter may offer to forward your resume for you and if so, you should still try to get a contact name and follow-up with the contact after the career fair.

 Prep

  • Find out which employers will attend and target those you most want to contact.
  • Research those employers through the Career and Transfer Center and internet resources.
  • Prepare questions you want to ask each potential employer.
  • Update your resume. Consult a Career Counselor.
  • Bring more copies of your resume than you think you need, A notebook or portfolio with room for collecting employer brochure and business cards is a good idea.
  • Prepare a short professional introduction including focused information about your experience, strengths, accomplishments, career interests, and goals. Brainstorm with a Career Counselor, if necessary, to prepare your introduction.
  • Dress professionally—you are making that all important first impression.
  • Arrive early and plan on extra time for parking and locating targeted employers.

Communication

  • When meeting employer representatives, shake hands, make eye contact, and smile. Demonstrate enthusiasm, confidence, and interest.
  • Present your professional introduction and ask any questions you might have.
  • Answer questions they may have for you directly, politely, and concisely.
  • Listen attentively and gather information about career opportunities,. Keep notes, business cards, or brochures from employers you contact. Be sure to thank them for their time.
  • Network with others while standing in line—you may hear about other opportunities,. To explore your options, visit a few employers you did not target, s they may also have opportunities.
  • If felling overwhelmed, give yourself time to break and return to the fair with renewed energy and a positive attitude.

Follow up

  • Send a thank-you notes to any representative who spent a significant amount of time with you, gave you valuable information, or alerted you to an opportunity. Remind them how you met, your qualifications, and reiterate your interest in the organization.
  • Follow-up on any employment opportunities that interest you. This may include a phone call, completing an online application, sending your resume and cover letter to the human resources department or potential supervisor, requesting a job description, or obtaining an application packet.

Remember to relax and enjoy yourself. Do not be intimidated. Collect information, literature, free giveaways, and most of all have fun!

ACC Alumni Spotlight: John Libby

ACC Alum John LibbyIn the fall of 1981, John started out as an 18 year-old ACC student. He was in student council that year and wrote for the school newspaper. He attended school with his mother, who started out with a GED and now holds a Master’s degree. ACC gave a poor kid from Brooklyn access to a better life, which is why he is so passionate about participation in the college and the scholarship programs for students. Eventually, ACC would be the higher education launch point for his wife, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law.

John values ACC because it gives access to all people. The education he received was from real life business professionals. Eventually, he would go on to have a successful career in Marketing, including becoming Retail Ad Director for The Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post and Money Mailer. The training he received at ACC gave him the spring board to change his life and the lives of the numerous people he has trained in business and in the community. “Thank you ACC for the opportunities in my life and the opportunity to give back,” said John.

Additionally, he truly appreciates how ACC supports the community. Not only does it improve the quality of life for its students by giving them a place for affordable high quality training but it also supplies the nurses, accountants, auto mechanics and numerous other professionals that keep our society in Colorado a wonderful place to live. “I may sound like a commercial, but without ACC a huge void would be left in our community,” said John. He wishes we could introduce more students and involve more of the community in the gem of this institution – what it means and can mean.

Besides the valuable education you get at ACC, it is also a place to grow up and fit in. Yes, the Marine Corps Reserves helped John, as did his parents, but it was the bridge that he needed as a first generation college student before the university experience. Community is another huge benefit of ACC. John learned the value of society and ACC gave him the needed experience of giving back through donations as well as volunteer work. “I feel giving back is an important human need, ACC gives that opportunity to give back in a way that will help generations.”

Finally, John commented on how lifelong learning is an important part of experiencing all that life has to offer. He still continues to take 2 classes a year whether it’s Voice, Guitar, Spanish or a variety of other skills because it keeps his mind expanding. To quote Ray Kroc-“When you’re green, your growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” ACC keeps your mind growing. John is ACC!

by Karen Browning, ACC Marketing Project Manager

Student Access Services at ACC – What it is and how to utilize it

Student Access Services (SAS) at ACC is the office dedicated to providing services for students in need of accommodations so that they can be successful in their education. Our SAS team works with every department on campus to encourage and celebrate accessibility, accountability and self-advocacy.

Services offered by SAS include:

  • Classroom accommodations
  • Test accommodations
  • Specialized orientations for support services
  • Self-advocacy training and ADAAA/Section 504 information
  • Curriculum materials in alternate formats
  • Referrals for resources such as tutoring, career services or other support services as necessary

Accommodations that SAS provides include:

  • Alternative text format
    • Electronic: PDF or Kurzweil
    • Braille, DAISY
  • Interpreting / Captioning
    • Sign Language
    • Real Time Captioning
  • Ergonomic Furniture
    • Adjustable Table
    • Ergonomic Seating
    • Ergonomic Keyboard, Mouse
  • Note Taker

*You are encouraged to request these accommodations at least 3-4 weeks before your first day of class.

Are you eligible for services?

If you are a registered ACC student with a disability, you qualify for accommodations. This can be a permanent condition or temporary (like breaking your arm and needing help with notes).

Be sure to follow our checklist to make sure you are on track with the steps you need to become an ACC student. It is important to complete as many of these steps as possible prior to meeting with a SAS specialist.

You’ll need to take a few additional steps to set up your accommodations, remembering to begin this process at least 4 weeks before the beginning of classes, if possible.  If you can’t gather your documentation or complete your intake form ahead of time, please come in anyway.

  1. Schedule an appointment with a SAS specialist. You can make your appointment by stopping by room M2720 at the Littleton campus, calling 303.797.5730 or requesting an appointment online. It can take up to a week to set-up your appointment, so plan accordingly.
  2. Fill out an Intake Form (PDF or online) before your scheduled appointment. This will give us an idea of what types of accommodations you need and what services we can provide to make your time at ACC as successful as possible.
  3. Bring or send recent documentation of a disability to SAS prior to your intake appointment.
  4. Meet with your SAS specialist and obtain an Accommodation Letter.
  5. Meet with your instructors and give them a copy of your Accommodation Letter.

It is important that you request your accommodations before classes start. This will get you off to the best possible start and ensure your success in your classes. Setting up accommodations can take some time and you don’t want to get behind.

Leia requests Accommodations video

You also need to be sure to set up testing accommodations with your instructor and the ACC Testing Center at least 7 days ahead of each test. Our instructors and Testing Center staff want to work with you to give you the best environment for testing for you, but they need time to make the necessary testing arrangements.

Chewy at the Testing Center

A disability doesn’t need to keep you from achieving your goals. Let our SAS specialists help you create an atmosphere where it is easier for you to learn and complete your studies. Learn how to advocate for yourself and your needs so you can get the help you need to accomplish your goals and Move Mountains!

Our SAS specialists are here to help. Contact them today in M2720 at the Littleton campus, email sas@arapahoe.edu or call 303.797.5730 (voice/TTY).