Guest Opinion: Finding a college fit right in your own backyard | November 18, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - November 18, 2011

Guest Opinion: Finding a college fit right in your own backyard

by Betsy Bechtel and Barbara Klausner

Students who are successful in Radu Toma's highest lane math classes at Palo Alto High School go on to Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton. Daniel Raburn was one of those students.

This story contains 1076 words.

If you are a paid subscriber, check to make sure you have logged in. Otherwise our system cannot recognize you as having full free access to our site.

If you are a paid print subscriber and haven't yet set up an online account, click here to get your online account activated.

Betsy Bechtel is a trustee of the Foothill De Anza Community College District and the former mayor of Palo Alto. Barbara Sih Klausner is a Palo Alto Unified School District parent and a current district board member.


Posted by Gisela Zebroski, a resident of Los Altos
on Nov 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

So true. As former FH graduate (1969) and now member of the Foothill Commission I appreciate this article. Yes, it is unfortunate that community colleges don't enjoy more respect. I would have never completed my college education - I had not been to highschool due to wartime difficulties - if it had not been for the personal attention and inspiration from my professors. Their enthusiasm and support kept me going when my rudimentary English hampered my written expressions. I eventually graduated from SJSU with a double major, Psychology and Russian, a minor in French, plus a solid dose of philosophy and real estate. Community colleges deserve all the support they can get so that more people can realize their potential. Once a student gets started at FH the going gets easy. I am now a writer with two novels to my credit and handled numerous real estate ventures.

Posted by Birgit Calhoun, a resident of Los Altos
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

I went to Foothiil College and finished my bachelor's degree in Language Studies at UC Santa Cruz in 1987 when I was 46 years old. Foothill had a re-entry program then where older students received significant help in classes run by counselors. I also participated in the honors program at Foothill at that time. It already existed then. I was 46 years old when I graduated. I am glad to see someone point out the real value of being close to home and getting into college life with less immediate pressure and significant savings. I highly recommend experiencing college life at two schools.

Posted by parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Thank you so much for writing this much-needed article on the advantages of community college.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

I only wish Gunn and Paly gave this type of information to students. Whenever there are student panels or parent college information, Foothill is always left out. I feel sure many parents as well as the students themselves would welcome the information.
Many high school seniors look forward to moving away from home, but many are not emotionally ready and this is another reason why the Foothill route is a good transition to independence.

Posted by registered user, CrunchyCookie, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Yes, spending your first two years at a CC is definitely the most rational thing to do if money is a priority. No one cares where you start, only where you get your degree. Plus who couldn't use an extra $24,000 these days?

Just be sure you're aware of the non-monetary costs:
-Your university GPA goes down a tad, since you'll have plowed through all the easy stuff at a different school
-Spending two more lame years at home with mommy/daddy instead of in an adventurous new city, housed in a hall with 40 horny 18-year-olds (dorm life is very much a freshmen-only deal in California)
-Most undergrads have fulfilled their friend quotas by junior year; you might be left out

By the way, does any known institution/magazine actually rate community colleges? I've been hearing Foothill being #1 in most ways since the dawn of time but have never traced these accolades to a source.