Getting the most out of City College; What successful students are doing differently

Photo Illustration by Bobby Castagna | Photo Editor |

Chelsea Knowlton
Staff Reporter

Some students are more successful at City College than others. Though no specific habits, programs or resources are a fit for everyone, there are some things most of City College’s successful students have in common.

There are multiple free resources available to students on campus that, according to professors and counselors, aren’t used enough.

Between tutoring, counselors, labs, learning, professors’ office hours, and academic technology classes, there are so many resources on campus that can help students find success.

Leslie Silveira, a counselor at City College, says that she sees students struggle through the process of higher education without asking for any support that might help them. According to Silveira, most students’ biggest downfall is underestimating the amount of study time that comes with a heavy class load.

“One unit is equal to two hours of study time, and most students don’t allow time for that,” says Silveira. “Come see a counselor. We can help find a balance between work and study.”

But balancing school work with life isn’t the only important factor. Knowing where to go for help when it’s needed is just as important, according to Silveira.

Another resource that Silveira claims isn’t used as often as students should is their own professors.

For example, Carrie Marks is a professor in the English department. She claims that it’s the students who come to office hours and only focus on the classes they truly need that are the most successful.

“That’s one thing that’s a barrier to students here is taking units they don’t need,” says Marks. “Often it’s the A students who are there. Students hover outside the door and say, ‘I don’t want to bother you,’ but I say, ‘No, this is my job. You’re welcome here.’”

Marks helped to create a corequisite course that allows remedial English students to take English Writing 300 along with a support class. According to Marks, students learn valuable study skills like using the writing center and keeping an open dialogue with both their English Writing 300 professor and their support professor. And it’s working.

“The success rate for students taking that course is significantly higher than if they’d done the traditional sequence,” says Marks. “Our success rate for students who pass English 300 when they’re taking the (corequisite) is 81 percent.”

If students find themselves falling into academic probation, success coaches are available through Student Services to help students get back on track. According to Karin Mack, one of the available coaches, students not only get their grades up, but develop healthy study habits as well.

Equally important to success on campus is finding a community of support. For some students, that comes in the form of athletic teams. For others it’s the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services program, Mark’s corequisite course, or even just classmates.

Savannah Mena, a criminal justice and psychology major who works 30 hours a week at two jobs, says that her community of support from the EOPS program makes a big difference for her.

“I took advantage of some of the resources here such as the EOPS,” says Mena. “They helped me by counseling and making sure I stayed on track with my classes.”

Silveira also claims that classmates can be an excellent place to find academic support as well.

“Form study groups. Get to know your classmates.” says Silveira. “If you’re willing to look for it, there is so much help.”