Whether you are a returning student or a new one, the start of the school year always yields a certain type of stress. Most of us share an excitement when facing novelty such as new classes and classmates; maybe even more after the cursed past two years of Covid. Most of us share fear, anxiety, and stress when facing these same novelties, especially as new and international students. Responsibility, fear, and joy have all befallen us as this fall starts – but how does one navigate the labyrinth that Seattle Central College (SCC) may seem like?
Remembering my own experiences as an international student and gathering other information, I’ve put together the following article. Its aim is to quickly assist any student who, like I once did, might feel lost at times within the campus and its mechanics.
Below you will find the following sections:
Campus map and on-campus overview
Aid/support for students
Clubs & groups
Food on and around campus
The 2022-2023 school year calendar
Feel free to jump to the section most pertinent to you, but stick around to the end to hear my own thoughts and experiences as well as insights from fellow students.
Map and on-campus offices & departments
OBS: The legend you will find at the link above is old, and some of the things mentioned do not exist anymore, such as the North Plaza and the South Annex; They have not been included in this article.
Broadway Edison (BE): The main building where Financial & Cashier Offices, the Library, InfoCentral, M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery, the Atrium, restaurants, and counseling and advising centers are located. If you are studying for an AA, or taking humanities classes, this is probably where many of your classes will be held.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Access limited to Main Broadway entrance: Monday-Thursday: 7-10 p.m.
Broadway Performance Hall (BPH) – The building where the college’s theater and auditorium is located as well as music and other performing arts classrooms. Usually you can only access the building with your student ID card and/or you have classes in the building. I highly recommend all the piano classes (which start with MUSC 126) taught by Yuka Sasaki, a great and attentive professor.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Mitchell Activity Center (MAC): The location for Gym & Physical Education classes; any student enrolled at SCC has access to the gym during its open hours (honestly, those hours are kind of hard to deal with since they coincide with most classes/on-campus jobs hours; an issue which has impeded me from ever attending the gym. Hopefully, with the recovery from Covid and the launch of the school year, the hours may be extended). The MAC also holds events such as Student Leadership training.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Fine Arts (FA): Visual and Fine Arts classes are located in this building; like the BPH, you may enter with your student ID card and/or if you have classes in the building. It is also where the Erickson Theater is located.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m; Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Science & Math (SAM): The building where STEM classes are held; You can enter with your student ID card and/or if you have classes there.
Hours: Monday-Thursday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Bookstore & Student Leadership – The bookstore is where you can purchase school supplies, textbooks, and spirit wear; Right next to it you’ll find the student leadership building where certain departments of Student Leadership meet; You may enter with your Student ID card.
Bookstore hours: Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Student Leadership hours: Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Plant Sciences – A small garden and lab for Plant Sciences (Biology, Botanics, etc.); I’ve never been there myself, but I imagine you may only access it if you have classes there.
Financial Aid and Enrollment Office
Any issues regarding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), online payment portals, scholarships/emergency funding, Orca card purchases, and Student ID photo cards can be addressed in the Enrollment and Financial Aid Services office, located in the BE building across from the atrium/cafeteria. To the left, you will find the Cashier’s office where you may purchase an Orca card or Orca Lift, make tuition payments, and request receipts; To the right, you will find the booth where student ID pictures and cards are taken and issued. Questions about registration and admission are also addressed here.
The college offers public and private scholarships for students, both international and domestic, although any government funded support programs, such as TRiO and FAFSA, are only available for U.S. college students. For more information on scholarships, applications, and deadlines, visit https://seattlecentral.edu/enrollment-and-funding/financial-aid-and-funding/scholarships.
Taking the King County Metro service, that is, public transportation is, to me, the best way to get around town without a car. In the Cashier’s office, you may purchase your Orca card containing a balance of $250 dollars worth of rides, but you will get a 50% discount on that amount, paying $125 dollars only. If you are a low income student, you may also apply for the Orca Lift which will grant you lower prices in tickets for every public transportation paid with your Orca card. For more information, visit the Enrollment and Financial Services office in the BE Building.
The college offers public and private scholarships for students, both international and domestic, although any government funded support programs, such as TRiO and FAFSA, are only available for U.S college students. For more information on scholarships, applications, and deadlines, visit https://seattlecentral.edu/enrollment-and-funding/financial-aid-and-funding/scholarships.
Aid & Support for Students and FAQs
As mentioned by Minh Duong and Duy Tran, student-workers at InfoCentral, drop-in and by-schedule advising appointments are offered both in-person and through Zoom. Domestic (U.S.) students can find their advising office at the end of the main hallway of the BE building, right past the Financial office. International students will find theirs in the opposite end of the same hallway, down the stairs in the International Programs office. To schedule an appointment, simply log in to your Starfish account (you can find it by clicking on the “Students” area at https://seattlecentral.edu/). Your advisor can help you with questions such as building your academic plans, choosing and registering for classes, and other issues.
The college also offers personal, career, and academic counseling for all students. You can find more information on how to get a counselor appointment at https://seattle
Another helpful program is the Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) which, in the words of Shawn Armour, the director of the program, “bridges the gap between inequalities and provides students with opportunities that are generally not available to underserved and underprivileged students. MESA’s goal is to make science, technology, engineering and math careers viable and accessible to Seattle Central College students.” If you are interested in pursuing a STEM degree and joining MESA, find more info at https://seattlecentral.edu/campus-life/student-support-and-servi
“Remember this,” Armour concludes, “ the world revolves around science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). As a result, STEM covers many disciplines, which translates into many jobs. Thus, having the fundamentals in STEM can only benefit you in your career path and your life.”
The campus also offers a Student Food Pantry, available for all students who may fill out a form once a week choosing which products they need. Products include non-perishable food, quick-to-make meals, snacks, hygiene products, school supplies, and even clothes and shoes for those who may need them. For questions about this, email zachary.hunter@seattle
To place an order, click the following: https://forms.office.com/r/yyRfUKLNaf
If you are a student at SCC, you qualify for on-campus jobs. The campus offers a good variety of work-study positions, which is especially great for international students since while on a F1 visa, you are only allowed to work on campus. All jobs and positions offer the same hourly pay rate, which is $17.27 per hour. Students may only work a maximum of 12 hours per week, although the hours are flexible and sometimes extra hours are granted.You may have more than one job on-campus as well, which is what I, myself, am currently doing; I am working for both The Seattle Collegian and the Art Gallery.
Applications for on-campus jobs open every spring, and, by summer, each applicant has already received an answer and an invitation for the on-boarding process. However, many positions are available throughout the school year as well. To know more, visit https://seattlecentral.edu/enrollment-and-funding/financial-aid-and-funding/work-study/open-positions. You can also go to the InfoCentral office, in the Broadway Edison building, and ask for work-study availability.
Some examples of job duties are planning and hosting events for the college, writing/managing for The Seattle Collegian as a member of the editorial board, working as an art gallery docent/monitor at the M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery, assisting other students with their questions at the InfoCentral office, and tutoring among others.
The on-boarding process for international students can be overwhelming and confusing: you will receive an invitation letter of employment which you will bring to the Social Security Office downtown, where, after a few weeks, you will obtain a Social Security number. Then, with your Social Security number along with other documents such as your passport and personal information, you will complete the process with the help of a board member. Always email them if you have questions or need extra assistance, which is to be expected as an international student. You can also always reach out to peers who hold on-campus positions or your advisor.
Finally, to get paid, you may either choose to get physical checks in the mail or link a direct deposit account to the CTC link system, which is the easiest and fastest way. If you have just moved to the U.S and do not have an American bank account yet, I recommend Bank of America where you can open both a checking and a savings account. They also have an office building on Broadway avenue, just a couple blocks from SCC.
Clubs and Groups
Anyone who is a student may apply to start their own club or partake in any of the existing clubs or groups, which are:
Associated Student Council
Dental Hygiene Club
Dungeons & Dragons Club
First Gen Club
Health and Human Services Club
Phi Theta Kappa
Respiratory Care Club
The Seattle Collegian
Student Nurses’ Association
You may find out more about each club/group by downloading the Sea Central app (available by that name on the App Store/other application downloading softwares) and logging in with your SID.
Food on and around campus
The cafeteria in the atrium, covered by grids, is closed, and has been since before Covid. It seems it will remain closed for this school year as well since it was not run by SCC, but by a third party. So, you may consider it non-existent. Past the atrium, you will find One World restaurant, which offers high-end four course meals and is run entirely by students of the famous Culinary Arts Program offered at SCC. They also run the café by its side, Square One, where you may get warm foods and drinks.
One World hours: Tuesday-Friday: 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Seating is limited. Reservation is encouraged.
Square One (beginning Oct. 7): Tuesday to Friday 11:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m
Entering the BE building, you will find the Buzz, which is also a coffee shop run by the students of the culinary program. There you may get your precious cup of morning coffee as well as pastries, salads, and pastas, depending on the day’s menu.
Hours: Monday: 7:30-11 a.m.; Tuesday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
However, they are currently closed for break but will be back in business Oct. 31. The Buzz is fast and practical, but the meals and pastries may get a bit expensive as well.
For an off-campus, but pretty close-by option, I recommend Dick’s Drive-In: the classic Seattle fast-food chain, which is just a couple blocks north of the BE building. I recommend them because they are fast and cheap – much cheaper than other fast-food chains. Across the street from it, you will also find the M2M H-mart, an Asian market which also offers baked goods and some ready-meals. Their prices vary but don’t tend to get too expensive. Just a block from the BE building, you will also find a Starbucks, and further on you will find Kitanda (a Brazilian coffee shop) as well as a bubble tea shop. Going the opposite direction, there is a Walgreens, and turning left, there are some more options for local coffee shops and restaurants. Right across the street from the BE building you will find a pizza shop which sells by the slice; not very cheap, but good nonetheless.
The 2022-2023 Calendar
To find a detailed academic calendar of current and past years with dates, such as tuition payment deadlines and finals schedules, go to: https://seattlecentral.edu/about/calendar/current-academic-calendar
Conclusion & student thoughts and feelings
“When I was a new student at SCC,” says Hien Nguyen, an international student from Vietnam, “I felt it was kind of overwhelming a little bit because there were many new things to do and get used to such as Canvas, ctcLink, Starfish, choosing classes, and other documents to complete. But they are easy to get used to.” Nguyen adds, “It was kind of hard making new friends, and, like any other international students, I want to make money, get scholarships and financial aid because studying in the U.S is really expensive.”
“It was difficult for me to achieve those things right at the beginning,” says Nguyen. “But the good thing is that the school creates many job opportunities and support for students. I wish I knew the Pantry and the list of classes I need to take for my degree, along with a list of universities that I can transfer to sooner.”
The “list of classes for your degree”, or, the credit requirements for each program, are easy to access by asking your advisor. They will hand you a sheet where you can find exactly what you need to do and plan ahead for it if you wish.
Nanaho Hara, from Japan, says, “There were way more international students rather than native speakers, but now I’ve got many friends in the world and have no regrets on the path I chose.”
That was a very true impression for me too, and I do have the feeling international students tend to find each other very quickly, which is a wonderful experience, given that we all have at least one thing in common: we are far from home. And that, figuratively or literally, may also be true for any new student.
Many students whom I’ve encountered throughout my first year here have brought me to understand that all of us feel confused and overwhelmed and frustrated with the bureaucracies of a system out of our hands. These are thoughts that I also heard from employers and authorities of the college. I am certain that Seattle Central is not the only institution or facility that retains these issues; not in Seattle, not in America, but in the world. I have also noticed how there are a great number of people who work with sincerity and vigor towards the common wellbeing of the students and of education. In the words of Meghan Trainor (not the popstar), the curator of the M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery where I work, “a college focused on community is a place of healing!” I’ve empirically come to find out that it is.
I hope this brief survey of the college and its resources has brought you some clarity or comfort. May you have a crescent school year and find peace amongst the cold drops of rainy Seattle.
Sophia is an internationally published author with her book Primeira Pessoa, as well as a young classical singer. Born and raised in Brazil, music, writing, and Astronomy are her greatest passions. She believes the greatest role of a writer is to bring forth the truth, the honesty, and the humanity that echoes within each one of us. Journalism, while Art, is for her a portrait of the fraternity of the Earth. At the moment, she works for both The Seattle Collegian and the M. Rosetta Hunter Art Gallery, while completing her AA degree with a focus on Anthropology & English.