Orange Coast College has many international students, and they each have their own dreams and goals. Many of them speak English as a second language, and each has had a different educational experience. Registration is the first problem that students encounter when they enter OCC.
The registration process for international students is subject to a number of rules imposed by the U.S. government in relation to the F-1 visa. The unfamiliar academic system and these particular rules can be confusing for international students.
“International counselors know more about rules of international students have to hold," International Academic Counselor Noriko Gotschall said. ”For example, they have to hold 12 units, or they have to have a least nine units on campus in each semester. Those rules are specific to international students, so I’m more well-informed those rules.”
“When I take counseling with a freshman, I recommend taking general education courses the first semester," International Academic Counselor Ruby Icaro said. "If you decide to change majors after that, you will have fewer credits to waste. If you are not 100% sure of your major, you can focus your first semester on general education.
OCC offers a number of classes to help international students, most notably English as a Second Language. All classes with an "N" at the beginning are supplementary. These are called “non-credit classes,” which do not count as credit, but allow students to take remedial courses in addition to their classes.
”I strongly encourage international students to take ESL," Icaro said. "ESL helps students develop both speaking and writing skills. We also have a scale based on your English certification score so that you can use that as a guide to help you decide which classes to take.”
Post-enrollment counseling is optional, but both Icaro and Gotschall mentioned that it is best to make counseling appointments as early as possible.
“If you try to get counseling right before registration, it is often fully booked," Icaro said. “But at this time of year, most appointments are open. The best time is about a month before registration."
Summer and fall semester registration will start on April 10. International students who would like counseling can contact the Global Education Center to make an appointment.
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