Jessica Esqueda wants to become a school psychologist, and with graduate school down the road, she doesn’t want to take five or six years getting there. Last year, as a freshman, she signed up for the Four-Year Graduation Pledge.
This month’s myth: You need to get really good grades to be in the Four-Year Graduation Pledge program.
That is patently false, as Esqueda will attest.
“It’s for serious students, but you don’t need to maintain a 4.0 GPA,” she says. “I certainly haven’t.”
Freshmen who want to join the program must have a declared major, be ready for the first college-level math and English class for that major, and they must sign up no later than the fall quarter of their first year. To stay in the program, they must stay in their declared major, complete 25 percent of the degree requirements for the major every year, earn a C or better in every class, and maintain an overall GPA of at least 2.2. Students who fail to stay above the grade threshold are dropped from the program and cannot get back in.
The pledge gives students two significant benefits: priority registration and the ability to get very focused advising.
“Early registration is a huge benefit,” Esqueda says. “You don’t have wait lists. You get to pick your classes. It’s huge. Also, I love having to meet with an advisor. Being able to talk about how to reach your goals and make sure you’re on the right track is so helpful.”
Despite the advantages of entering the program and the relatively benign grade demands, only 22 percent of students who make the Four-Year Graduation Pledge finish in the program, with grades being the most common problem.
“The Four-Year Graduation Pledge Program is excellent for students who can commit to Cal Poly Pomona on a full-time basis and are confident about their choice of major,” Associate Provost Claudia Pinter-Lucke says.
She pointed out that for some students, the pressure of 15 units every quarter can mean lower grades and no time to engage in co-curricular such as clubs or sports. “I encourage students to join the Four-Year Pledge because they only have a short window for that, but there is no shame in getting out of the program to have a better overall experience at Cal Poly Pomona,” Pinter-Lucke says.
The deadline to apply for the Four-Year Graduation Pledge program is Friday, Nov. 22. For more information and to find the application form, visit http://www.csupomona.edu/~academic/programs/grad_pledge/.
Note: The Office of Academic Programs is piloting a Two-Year Graduation Pledge Program for transfer students. For more information, visit http://www.csupomona.edu/~academic/programs/grad_pledge/2year.shtml.
(Photo: Jessica Esqueda)