“Going to Chapman empowered me to find something that works for me,” said Angela Ramirez ’24 of her experience transferring to Chapman University as a C-TAG student.
College should be a place for students to find themselves and establish a community to nurture their growth, learning and career goals. For Ramirez, like many students, the opinions of others were drowning out her own voice and she had to find it. “Right after high school I went to UCI, mostly because of pressure from everyone around me, including my mom,” she said. “It wasn’t a school I wanted to go to personally and I didn’t feel a good connection there. I think it affected me mentally and academically.”
Ramirez was in the social sciences program at UC Irvine, where she began struggling academically. The school dropped her from the program due to her grades. “I became undeclared and I was on academic probation the following semester, so I made the decision to leave.” This led Ramirez to Santa Ana College (SAC), where she planned to study for a year then return to UCI.
“When I got to Santa Ana College, I actually really liked school. I thought, ‘maybe this is the right way for me to learn,’” she said. Ramirez continued her studies at SAC for three years. It was during the third year that she learned about Chapman’s Transfer Admission Guarantee (C-TAG) for Future Educators program.
C-TAG is designed for students interested in teaching elementary and special education. The program creates a pathway from Santa Ana College or Santiago Canyon College that offers guaranteed admission into Chapman’s Integrated Educational Studies (IES) major. IES majors are future educators for a classroom or community setting.
Feeling as though the odds were stacked against her, Ramirez was surprised to learn that Chapman was an option for her. “Being a low-income, first-generation student and a former foster youth, I had a negative mindset. People thought I wouldn’t make it. Especially in a private school,” Ramirez shared. Transferring to Chapman also requires a minimum GPA of 2.7 or higher for required courses, so she had to show her improvement as a student.
But Ramirez was confident in her decision. “Instead of listening to what other people think is best for me, this is what I think is best for myself. I know myself better than they do,” she said.
Now in her second semester at Chapman, Ramirez is an IES major with a minor in disability studies; and she’s excelling academically. She credits her professors and Chapman’s average class size for contributing to her success. “I love Dr. Wood!” She exclaimed. “She’s very supportive and caring. If I have questions or need help, she gets back to me right away.”
Dr. Jillian Wood is the director of undergraduate programs and an assistant professor at Chapman. “I had the pleasure of letting Angela Ramirez know she had been accepted to the program. I was thrilled to see she was in my IES 301: Organizations, Ethics, and Society course for her first semester,” said Dr. Wood. “She was an exceptional student, with strong critical thinking and writing skills. While I had the pleasure of being her instructor, I also got to work with her closely as her program advisor, which I will do throughout her time at Chapman. Angela is truly exceptional and will make an important impact in the field of education.”
Chapman faculty often become integral to their students’ support system. “At Chapman, I don’t feel like an ID number because the classes don’t have hundreds of students within a course,” said Ramirez. “You can get to know your professors and they want to get to know you as well. It’s a very strong community to be in.”
Ramirez looks forward to graduating and working with students with disabilities. She wants to encourage other students to remain optimistic about their academic journey. “Don’t give up,” she said. “Follow the path that you think is best for you because at the end of the day, this achievement and success is for you.” Ramirez also wants future C-TAG students to take advantage of the resources available at Chapman to help them in their journey to success.
To begin your journey as a C-TAG student, SAC and SCC students should contact their academic advisors and/or their respective program centers: