College Matters | It’s the ideal time to apply for college

This article was originally posted in the College Matters column of the Times-Standard.

Thursday, September 29, 2022 - 3:00pm

It is not unusual for students who are considering college to think about all of their options. Some want to be in an urban setting. Some want to leave home and their community to experience something different. Some want to live on campus or join a specific club or organization. Some simply want to focus on their degree and minimize the cost to themselves and their family. This is very normal from the student’s point of view.

There are parents and families who, many times, feel like their students in the search for the right college for their child. Parents seek safety. They also seek a good fit, a place they believe their child could thrive, be happy, and learn. They seek affordability. And they seek some access, or the ability to see their child and support their child through the process. This is normal for parents and families.

Students, and parents, on the North Coast have amazing local options for higher education through the College of the Redwoods and Cal Poly Humboldt. Right on your doorstep are a high-performing community college and a newly minted polytechnic. Right out of high school is a great path to a two or four-year degree. As a transfer student from CR, there is a great path to a fantastic four-year education in Cal Poly Humboldt.

Tell your friends. Tell your parents. Tell your children. Tell your grandchildren, nephews, nieces, neighbors, and all who will listen that this is the time, and the place, to begin or continue one’s education at CR or Cal Poly Humboldt.

For seniors in high school who want to attend Cal Poly Humboldt next fall, the priority application period begins Oct. 1 and continues through Dec. 2. Students can get all the information about how to apply from our admissions website or by calling our admissions office. For students transferring from CR, there’s a little more time, but it’s good to decide as soon as possible and get that application in.

Cal Poly Humboldt, as a polytechnic, is new. We are rapidly gaining in popularity and more aspiring students are considering Humboldt County as their destination for college. Each year this campus will become more competitive, and in the coming years, more and more unique degrees will be offered. This is the right time, maybe the best time, to be a part of this new experience.

It’s not always obvious when a great opportunity is right in front of you. It can be particularly difficult for young people who are not yet out of high school or for those who are just finishing their first two years of community college. I can assure you that Humboldt and CR are two great opportunities.

Going directly to Cal Poly Humboldt after high school is the right choice for many students. For other students, going to the College of the Redwoods for the first two years is the best choice, and it might surprise you to know that I always support students who opt for CR. My own college experience started at a community college, and I’m grateful for the solid education and cost savings it provided me. As a college president, I have said this many times: “I am an educator. It isn’t where you start. It isn’t where you finish. It is most important THAT you finish.” I want you at Cal Poly Humboldt. And if not here, I want you at CR.

Both Humboldt and CR are thriving and forward-looking, working closely together on behalf of students and this entire region. Both offer fantastic programs and campus experiences and are competitive in intercollegiate sports. We offer students many opportunities for success. If you are a student, or a family member of a student, and you are looking for a school focused on mentoring and supporting students — look no further than your home community.

Staying local means lowering your cost of education. It means saving money while students and families remain closer to each other. Housing prices, food costs, and transportation can all be lower than when students leave Humboldt County to attend school. If that isn’t enough to convince you then consider this: One could always stay a few years and transfer later. As a CR graduate, one is automatically eligible to transfer to any CSU and nearly all state universities throughout the United States. Alternately, one could decide to transfer from Cal Poly Humboldt after a couple of years. I’m not sure why you would, but if you did, what’s better than having the Cal Poly brand forever on your transcript?

In addition, at Cal Poly Humboldt, we have scholarships just for local students. All new local freshmen from the four-county area are GUARANTEED a Humboldt First Scholarship worth up to $4,000 during their time at this university. There are many to thank for this scholarship because it is due to the generous support from many in this community. And, for those from the Eel River Valley, the Phillips Scholarship is worth up to an additional $4,000 in support.

Consider the polytechnic factor. As part of Cal Poly Humboldt’s transformation, the state has made a historic investment in our campus. We’re adding new programs and bolstering existing programs. It’s a time of incredible change and creativity, and students can be a part of it.

In fall 2023 alone, there will be eight new undergraduate majors, one new graduate degree, and three new certificates. They include:

  • Applied fire science and management, bachelor of science;
  • cannabis studies, bachelor of arts;
  • data science, bachelor of science;
  • energy systems engineering, bachelor of science;
  • geospatial information science and technology, bachelor of science;
  • marine biology, bachelor of science;
  • mechanical engineering, bachelor of science;
  • software engineering, bachelor of science; and
  • engineering and community practice, master of science.

The three certificates being developed for fall 2023 are in cybersecurity, equitable and sustainable future, and information technology. And, do not forget or overlook our extremely strong programs in business, education, arts, humanities, natural resources, nursing, sciences, and so many more.

To all of our high school seniors and community college students, the message is really simple: We want you to stay in Humboldt County…at least for a little while longer.

Cal Poly Humboldt, the College of the Redwoods, and this community believe in education, and the North Coast has a bright future filled with opportunity. We’re ready to support you in earning your degree. Be well.

Dr. Tom Jackson Jr. is the president of Cal Poly Humboldt.