As an undergraduate at SF State, Jarell Cruz was having trouble getting into classes—either they were only offered every other semester or they were full. But he needed to complete specific classes to apply for the university's Clinical Laboratory Science program.
Instead of waiting and hoping to get into a specific course, Cruz quickly and easily enrolled in those much-needed classes at UC Berkeley Extension, starting with Immunology.
"It was online, so it was very convenient," he says. "It was also fun because we had a lot of forums that we had to respond to. We had icebreakers and we had to introduce ourselves. And I saw a lot of other CLS students, so it was easy to talk to them. I liked that class a lot, so I enrolled in Quantitative Analysis and then Medical Microbiology."
It was while taking his last class that Cruz got the support he needed to apply for the CLS program. "I was actually never really a great student, and I didn't do that well on the first two tests," he remembers. "In the beginning of the semester, my instructor Nidhi Ahuja told us that if we ever felt like we were struggling to tell her. And I thought, 'Well, this is about the time I should actually do that. She gave me advice on how to do better. Mostly, she believed in me, and I didn't even believe in myself. I just followed everything she suggested, and then I ended up getting As on everything so I could apply to the CLS program."
Today, Jarell is fully entrenched in his CLS program, having finished the didactic portion and now doing clinical rotations at Kaiser Regional. But his education doesn't stop here. Cruz plans to take additional Extension courses to prepare him to apply to an M.B.A. program.