Scot Hamilton’s Associate Degree for Transfer in sociology fulfilled a promise he made to his mother years ago – to get a college education and provide a better life for his family.
Hamilton, 40, went back to school in his late 30s while rehabilitating from a construction accident and graduated from Lake Tahoe Community College with an Associate in Arts for Transfer (AA-T) degree that guaranteed him a spot at California State University, Sacramento where he’s a junior sociology major.
“My mom passed away in 2011, but her dream was for me to graduate college and to have a child, and thanks to my wife, and to Lake Tahoe Community College, both of her dreams came true,” said Hamilton, who has a three-year-old son. “I am the first person on either side of my family to have any sort of a (college) degree, and will be the first to have a bachelors degree. The chances of our son one day graduating college have become realistic now for my wife and me. It's really a great state that we live in.”
Hamilton said his goal was to get an associate degree while recovering from his injuries and couldn’t work. But his counselors at Lake Tahoe Community College told him about the Associated Degree for Transfer program and motivated to keep pushing toward a bachelor’s.
The program is simple. The California Community Colleges and the California State University system have simplified the transfer process for community college students wanting to continue their education at a CSU. Community college students who complete an associate degree designated for transfer are guaranteed admission to the CSU system with junior status and will be given priority consideration when applying to a California State University campus and to a particular program that is designated as similar to the student’s community college major. While at the community college, students in the program are provided a 60-unit pathway to their AA-T or AS-T degree and to a transfer. Once at a CSU, the student is given a 60-unit pathway to their bachelor’s degree. Students can accomplish two educational goals in less time and less money.
“I couldn’t believe the program was available, what a great idea,” Hamilton said. “Personally, I think having mandatory assessment tests and counseling sessions are the way to go so people can get on the pathways earlier. Once I got on my pathway things took off. Now I have an AA degree and that’s something no one can ever take from me.”