Got Questions About Advanced Placement Credit? Here’s What I Found Out About 4CD’s Priority Registration Process

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Takeshi Kawata, Staff

When I graduated from high school I was completely adrift. I had never found a subject that particularly resonated with me throughout my prior academic history. Everyone I spoke to replied with the same advice: “You’ll know it when you experience it.”

During my first years at Diablo Valley College, I bounced between required general education courses and other classes that I enjoyed. The latter included my first communications-related course, “Introduction to Communication Theory,” which quickly became one of my favorites. Once I committed to my newly discovered major, I found out that an English course called “Introduction to Linguistics” was required for transfer.

As I logged on to InSite a few weeks ago to register for Spring 2022 courses, I noticed that the registration dates were staggered based on the number of units an individual has completed. I consulted my list of completed courses and prerequisite equivalencies, relieved that my registration period directly followed the priority period.

But to my chagrin, I failed to consider a previously unknown policy in the Contra Costa Community College District that states that AP course credits do not count toward one’s total college units.

I spoke to DVC Registrar Gabriel Harven about this during an online “coffee chat,” where he acknowledged that AP credits currently count towards DVC course prerequisites and transfer requirements, in addition to credits at four-year universities. However, Harven said that “only credits completed within the district are calculated when determining registration priority.”

This statement prompted DVC President Susan Lamb to comment that “the system (staggering of registration dates) was put in place to allow further-progressed individuals to complete their requirements.” President Lamb also advised that I take a look at 4CD’s “Board Policy” page, where I later found Board Policy 3022.

BP 3022 states, “The District shall provide priority registration for students who meet the registration and enrollment procedures as specified in Title 5, Section 58108.” After a short search, I came across Section 58108c, which revealed that “Registration priority, in the order of priority listed below, shall be provided to students who [have] served in the military, been a foster child, or [received] aid from Disability Support Services.

Additionally, Section 58108(f) states that “Districts may establish additional registration priorities for students with priority lower than student groups covered by 58108(c).”

An example of a change that 4CD has already implemented is its new policy regarding AP/IB exams and course equivalency. Previously, if an individual wanted to skip a course, they had to pass that course’s final exam. But starting this year, DVC will accept standardized test scores instead.

I was thanked for my concerns and notified that the oversight involving standardized tests is one that 4CD will address shortly. As DVC continues to excel among the community college ranks, amendments of this sort will continue to make the value of what students learned before community college more prominent.

At this point in time, I believe that the main obstacle prospective community college students need to overcome is the negative connotation surrounding a perceived lower quality of education. Depending on an individual’s progress with other standardized testing, the first one to two years at almost any university will center around completing required general education courses. Earning a passing grade on these standardized tests will allow an individual greater academic freedom once they get to a four-year school.

If prospective students recognize that their previous learning is valued equally at a community college, they will likely be more enticed to enroll.