Matriculation office frequently first stop for new students

Thousands of students receive skills assessment and guidance from the Matriculation Office. (Claire Cote)

Shawn Hevlin-Martinez

Perhaps one of the busiest departments at Saddleback College is the Matriculation Office. Responsible for testing thousands of new students a year, the Matriculation Office is usually the first contact newcomers have with the Saddleback College system.

Saddleback requires certain students to go through Matriculation, but not all students. If you plan on obtaining an associate degree or higher, if you are undecided on your educational goal, or if you are a transfer student with less than 30 units and you have not yet completed a math or English course, you must first be matriculated. Matriculation began April 1 for those who did not apply or were not eligible for the “Early Bird” program.

The “Early Bird” process allows high school seniors coming to Saddleback to matriculate early. Even now, matriculation officials are still administering tests to applicants who submitted their forms prior to the March 27 deadline.

“This way, high schoolers can take the test and deal with the system early,” said Laura Tuscano, a senior matriculation specialist.

With attendance at Saddleback reaching record numbers recently, matriculation must deal with an influx of new students from varied backgrounds.

“There’s a lot more students coming,” Tuscano said. “Of course, it has a lot to do with the economy. There are a lot of people who’ve been laid off and need to come back for more schooling.”

Matriculation, however, is more concerned with fresh-faced high schoolers over middle-aged students.

“One of our biggest concerns is that students are placing lower in math and English than usual, but we’re working with the high schools to make sure that the students who test here come better prepared,” said Jo Ann Alford, Saddleback matriculation coordinator.

“[Students] figure that because it’s not the SAT or that because Saddleback is a community college, they can put a minimal amount of effort into the test,” Alford said. “What they don’t realize is that that test determines a large part of their college experience.”

“We’re the best in the state,” Alford said. He added that the Matriculation Office will continue to service the thousands of newcomers this year with both efficiency and cheerfulness.

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