By Bill Knief
It’s decision time. The fall semester at UNM-Taos is right around the corner. The first day of classes is August 18, and there’s plenty to do. If you haven’t enrolled yet, and this is your first time to take classes at UNM-Taos, you’ll need your transcripts from high school or any higher education institutions you have attended. You’ll need to meet with an advisor, plan your academic or career path, discuss financial aid, and decide on your course schedule.
We are an open enrollment institution, and that means that if you’re not taking a class for credit, you still have to go through the admissions process, but you don’t have to provide any transcripts.
If you have taken classes at UNM-Taos before, and you are comfortable with online enrollment, you can take care of the whole process by going to our website taos.unm.edu and following the instructions. If you still owe money on past classes, contact the business office at 737-6269 and they will help you set up a payment plan so that you can still enroll. But no matter how you do it, the sooner you get started, the better chance you have of getting a seat in the classes you need at the times that work best for you.
Statistics consistently show that student success is heavily dependent on getting off to a good start. If you are unsure as to how to proceed, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call 737-6215. The enrollment office staff is there to help, and this year it’s even easier to get the assistance you need. Every Wednesday you can walk in without an appointment and meet with academic or financial aid advisors. Just come by Pueblo Hall on the Klauer Campus during regular business hours. Or if you prefer, go to Rio Grande Hall (the old Taos Convention Center on Civic Plaza Drive in the center of town) between 4 and 7pm. We’re set up with computers and all the key staff you need to start your semester right.
Last week I spoke with one student who has definitely gotten off to a good start. Julianna Spotted Corn is now a sophomore working on her prerequisites in hopes of eventually being admitted into the UNM-Taos Nursing Program. Meanwhile, she is working on her degree in pre-science. She is a first-generation college student, and thanks to the College Assistance Migrant Program, or CAMP, in her first year she has already completed 24 credit hours toward those goals.
“When I graduated from Taos High in 2013 I never thought of going to college,” Spotted Corn said. “I didn’t even know how to apply. But I got interested in CAMP and they helped me with everything. I didn’t have to do it alone, and they really pushed me. They checked in with me a lot, because they had to make progress reports, and that really makes you work. You’ve got to stay on top of it in order to stay in the program. If I had had to do it on my own, I don’t think I could have come this far.”
The federally funded CAMP program, run by Juan Montes, is currently in the third year of a five-year grant, and is designed to recognize agricultural work and workers. If an incoming student has fewer than 24 hours of college credits, and either the student or a parent has spent at least 75 days in the last two years being paid to do agricultural work, they could qualify. Participants who take at least 12 credit hours per semester receive financial support including stipends, tuition, books and materials costs throughout the freshman year, and ongoing academic support after that until they graduate.
Senior Academic Advisor Mayra Gutierrez said that the program was challenging, but that participants were surrounded by support. On Friday, August 8, she said that the CAMP team was putting on Tardeada, a student orientation, campus tour and recognition of CAMP graduates that is open to everyone: students, parents, family and friends alike. Food and music will be provided, and there are still a few positions open to candidates. Tardeada will run from 3 to 6pm on Klauer Campus south of town on County Road 110, and is part of the ongoing fall enrollment push.
“Juan Montes says that if we had a more educated community, it would be a better place for everyone,” Spotted Corn, who is now a liaison to the CAMP program, continued. “I believe that. We have to push ourselves to become something better.
“To the people who are not sure if it is for them or not, I’d say this program gives them options for furthering their lives through education. It’s true that you can make more money if you have a degree, but it’s more than that. Education helps you look at where you are now, where you want to be, and how you are going to get there.”
For more information on Tardeada and CAMP, please call (575) 737-3720.