Graduation day is supposed to be one of the most important days in a person’s life. All the hard work a person put in over the years, and almost their whole life has come to this moment. Although a lot of people do not actually get to experience that day.
Over the past couple of years there has been extremely low graduation rates in community colleges, including CCBC. A lot of people drop out, but some of their reasons may be more complicated than just not wanting to finish school.
In an article by Grace Chen called, “Catch-22 of Community College Graduation Rates,” it talks about how a lot of times it’s more complicated for students to attend school, and not really having a choice whether they can stay in school or not.
The article states, “Many high school graduates that come from low-income families or are first-generation college goers may find community college to be the best option for them. However, life circumstances for these demographics, including financial constraints, transportation, and child care needs, can hinder goals to finish the education process and obtain a degree in a traditional time frame. Therefore, many of the students who show up in reports as “dropouts” did not leave school because they wanted to, rather they were compelled to by some uncontrollable life event.”
A lot of students do not have the choice to stay in school, and would love to be able to graduate. Many people who, “drop out” do not want to and if they had the choice would obviously try and graduate. That percentage also includes the students who dropout of school for a certain amount of time and then go back to school and get their degree, therefore, it is not a very accurate percentage.
According to CCBC 3,313 students graduated last spring in 2015, which is a 3.3 percent increase from 2014. This number is considerably low, but hopefully over the years it is going to continue to get larger and make a lot more progress. Also the retention rate is now at 49%.
In the CCBC Disclosure of Institutional General Student Body article it states, “during the fall semester of 2011, 2484 first-time, full-time, certificate or degree-seeking undergraduate students entered CCBC. As of August 31, 2014, 7% of these students had graduated from our institution or completed their programs and 15% transferred to other institutions.”
I talked to some of these students that were in these percentiles. They both had very interesting views and were almost completely opposite of each other.
One of them was a student named Charles that went to CCBC two semesters ago and did not graduate but transferred to Towson as an accounting major. He ended up dropping out and working for his father’s company, which is called KCI Technologies Inc. His father is president and CEO of the company and he plans to follow in his foot steps. He now works in communications and infrastructure.
He said, “I enjoy my job most days. I have always thought I would work for my father’s company and wondered why I even needed to go to college. Now that I have been working at the company for a while, I feel like I should have stayed in school and graduated. I feel like that would have made me feel really accomplished and better about myself as a person in the working field.”
Another student named Brian that went to CCBC graduated and earned his Associate’s Degree in 2015. He recently transferred to Towson and is majoring in elementary education to become a teacher. He only has a year left and is incredibly excited to graduate.
He states, “I never really enjoyed school, until I started doing well and finding a major I was very passionate in. I had a lot of trouble in the beginning my freshman year. I was about to drop out and unsure of what I wanted to do. CCBC really helped me find what that was and gave me the confidence I needed to really do my best and try my hardest. Now I am about to graduate at Towson next spring and could not be more excited, not to mention proud of myself.”
It’s unfortunate to look at the percentage of students that do not end up graduating knowing that a good percent of them actually want to accomplish that goal. A lot of students that are about to drop out see counselors at school that try and help them find ways to continue staying in school or to come back as soon as they can. They help students come up with ideas and help them progress towards achieving their goals. Hopefully in the future we can come up with more ways to keep students in school and eventually see these graduation percentages skyrocket.
CCBC has already implemented new programs such as Academic Pathways to try to boost their graduation rates and help more students effectively matriculate through college. Hopefully these new programs will make graduation a reality for thousands more students for many years to come.
Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.