Glendale Community College goes back to school

Nandi Watson, 20, of Pasadena, left, and Justice Nicole, 20, of Burbank, take a break before heading off to the first day of fall classes at Glendale Community College on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer / September 3, 2013)

A new semester started at Glendale Community College on Tuesday, and Violet Alvarenga was one of thousands of students gearing up for additional courses available by the end of the year as more state funds will be pumped into the school.

Alvarenga, 20, who is beginning her third year at the college, is enrolled in three classes — cultural geography, English and philosophy. Planning to pursue a career in animal conservation, Alvarenga was waiting to hear if there was room for her in a chemistry class this semester.

“I am looking forward to learning a lot,” she said. “Coming back, it’s not like the first time where coming out of high school you feel nervous, you want to find a familiar face,” she said. “I think the hardest thing is getting back to your study mode. You’re on vacation mode and now it’s school mode.”

Officials said they would tally the number of students enrolled this fall in two weeks, when students are no longer permitted to add or drop classes.

It’s likely the college will see a slight decrease in students enrolled this year compared to last year’s 15,500 students, said Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services.

At its peak in 2009-10, Glendale Community College served 20,000 students, and college officials recently discussed investing in a marketing plan to boost enrollment. As the economy improves, Nakasone said, college enrollment tends to swing downward.

But this year also marks the first in five years that the college won’t endure any state budget cuts. The college also received an additional $1 million in state revenues, paving the way for an additional 220 classes offered to students during 2013-14.

The majority of classes — about 200 — will be offered during the winter session.

At lunchtime on Tuesday, Theodore Arakelian, 19, was volunteering with Anahit Grigoryan, 21, at a booth where they directed new students to classrooms on campus and handed out maps.

Both students belong to the Associated Students of Glendale Community College. On Sept. 12, the organization will host a barbecue in the campus plaza to welcome students back.

“I’m just looking forward to meeting new people, meeting new faces and hopefully making an impact for my last year [at the college],” Arakelian said.

Grigoryan, who is beginning her third year at the college, is enrolled full time as she prepares to transfer next year to a four-year school to study medicine.

“I’m not stressed out, I’m just looking forward to a new, better semester,” she said.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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