Friday, July 16, 2010

Refugees and Higher Education --part six

First, a reminder. If you wish to read this entire series go to the labels down on the lower right hand side of the space under this article and click on the one that says "Getting refugees into college." This should show you the entire series.

Secondly, a correction/ clarification. In an earlier post I indicated that people with a GED do not have high school pre-requisites should they be required for a community college program. This is, at best, only usually true. If one has studied in high school, but dropped out, one does indeed have a transcript, indicating the classes one took. There's no reason this transcript cannot include high level classes that may be relevant for higher education. This was pointed out to me by an American woman who dropped out of high school in her senior year due to pregnancy, later earned her GED and then went on to higher education and used her high school classes as pre-requisites for admission to a higher level education program. Thank you! Thank you!

Thirdly, someone recently was asking "Can adult refugees get into college in the USA?" Well, let's put it this way. "Can adult people get into college in the USA?" Yes, they can, although it sometimes isn't easy. Children, job, social expectations, and several other things often present difficulties for the adult learner. What's a refugee? A refugee is "a people" --a person, like any other, save for a background that's different from most of us. (I wrote an earlier essay on this blog entitled
"Understanding refugees --four principles" that might help offer some understanding on what refugees are like.) So, the answer to the question is yes, and if you wish details please read this series.

Fourth, let me offer a disclaimer of sorts. Every college has different admission procedures. Check with the institute of higher education for exact details.

Which brings us to our next category of potential students and what it requires to get them into college.

Some refugees:
4) Finished high school and has the diploma but no transcripts.
5) Finished high school and has the diploma and acceptable, proper transcripts.

At most colleges if a student has earned a high school diploma overseas, it is necessary to give them some assessment test before admitting them. These can include, for instance, the TOEFL test (Test Of English as a Foreign Language). The TOEFL test is designed to assess one's ability to understand spoken and written English.

In some cases something called a "Compass test" is required. (See for information on the compass test. ) At at least one college, if one does not do well on the compass test you will have trouble getting student loans from New York State, as they belief is that if you lack the English language ability to pass the test, you also lack the English language ability to pass your classes.

Like most students one should check and see if they need to take the ACTs or the SATs.


If a refugee has finished high school, has a diploma, but no transcripts, and cannot get transcripts (apparently refugee camp high schools cannot supply transcripts to overseas schools) then it is, from my understanding, up to the college as to whether or not they wish to recognize the diploma. The one time I ran across this situation, the college chose not to recognize the degree and offered the potential student remedial class (which included much needed ESL classes). In fairness, the refugee camp diploma, although undoubtedly legitimate in this case, looked quite simple to forge.

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