August 07, 2013

Program links community college students to SIU

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale continues to find innovative ways to help community college students realize their dreams of a bachelor’s degree, no matter where they live.

SIU now offers a hybrid of its University College student success courses, known as UCOL 101, for admitted students in the University’s dual admission program (DAP).  The program is for students with a declared major who plan to earn their bachelor’s degree at SIU Carbondale, but who want to begin their college careers at a community college. While primarily online, the program also includes some face-to-face meetings at community colleges.

UCOL 101 courses are part of the required core curriculum at SIU Carbondale.

DAP students who enroll in UCOL 101 lock in their SIU tuition rate earlier than other transfer students.  When they arrive at SIU to finish their bachelor’s degrees, provided they have remained in the program and continued taking classes at their community colleges, they pay the tuition rate that was current when they took the UCOL course. It’s as if they had been on campus the entire time.

DAP students have access to SIU Carbondale pre-advisement:  students receive guidance to help them fulfill major-specific pre-requisite and major-relevant core curriculum courses at their community colleges and transfer them to SIU Carbondale as they earn them.

"DAP students benefit from a customized transfer that provides a road map to follow for the major, along with access to courses that allow for connecting early to SIU, connecting with other transfer students, and the ability to lock in tuition rates,” Amanda Sutton, assistant director of transfer relations in the Office of Enrollment Management, said.  “DAP assists students with a variety of transfer needs and aids in making the transition to SIU smooth and seamless."

In the past, dually admitted students gained the advantage of an easier and more efficient transfer process, but the tuition rate they paid applied to when they arrived for the on-campus phase of their educations. Now, DAP students who take their transfer-specific UCOL 101 class online gain the on-campus advantage.  UCOL courses introduce students to the research and academic culture at SIU Carbondale. 

Online UCOL courses for dually admitted students launched this summer.

SIU maintains service centers at eight area community colleges.  These service centers help transfer students and potential transfer students in the dual admission or other transfer programs to make a connection to the University, and provide easy access to transfer advisement, and financial aid, admissions or housing information. 

“We have quite a few students in the Dual Admission Program.  The students I see are excited about it,” Anita Gentry, SIU Service Center coordinator for John A. Logan College, said.  “It can really mess up a student’s academic plan if they have the wrong pre-requisite courses; we give them a roadmap that takes the guesswork out of the transfer process – they know exactly which courses to take.”

Gentry added that assistance from the University helps the community college advisement counselors as well.

“There are so many factors that affect transfer credits,” she said.  “The advisement staff here is wonderful, and they are very knowledgeable -- many students come to John A. Logan College planning to transfer to SIU.  Where the DAP map is especially helpful for the advisement staff is in those majors we see less often.  The DAP coursework map eliminates the guesswork for them as well.”

Yvonne Gramenz, the SIU Service Center coordinator for Southwestern Illinois College, noted that eligible students are eager to take advantage of the dual admission program.

“Students ask me on a regular basis what they should take at their community colleges that will transfer to SIU,” she said.

Gentry said it is important for students to feel a connection to the University even while they are still at their community college.

“Taking the online UCOL 101 classes helps them with that -- it provides a community and a connection with their classmates,” she said.  “We want them to know about campus, from what events are taking place to who their advisors might be.”

Students at any Illinois community college are eligible for dual admission.  The University also maintains dual admission agreements with St. Louis Community College, Three Rivers Community College (Poplar Bluff, Mo.), and community colleges and technical schools in Kentucky.

Students and guidance counselors interested in learning more about this program and its advantages may contact Amanda Sutton at or 618/453-7143; or visit the website at  Information about UCOL courses is at