By Justin Lynch
Camden County College’s graduation rates have been low in recent years.
Marilyn Feingold, dean of Institutional Research, Planning and Grants, said graduation rates have varied from 9 percent in 2007, 14 percent in 2008 to 12 percent last year.
The graduation rate is based on full-time first-time students who are matriculated in a program and looks at where they are three years after they start at the college, Feingold said.
While the graduation rates might seem low, many students transfer from CCC to a four-year college before completing their degrees.
The transfer rate, like the graduating rate, has increased since 2007, Feingold said.
“The transfer rate also varies,” Feingold said. “During that same time period (2007 to 2009), it went from 16 percent to 15 percent to 19 percent.”
Despite the college’s graduation, transfer, and retention rates, students still leave the college without graduating or going on to another school.
“Students leave college for a variety of reasons, some of which are personal and have nothing to do with anything that the college can control or affect,” Feingold said. “The college is implementing strategies to help students in the areas that it can, such as outreach, academics and scheduling.”
The new strategies Feingold mentioned have been implemented in CCC’s strategic plan that was released earlier this year. They will be in effect through 2015.
The strategic plan includes goals to increase retention of incoming freshmen by offering an enhanced freshman orientation experience and to improve student retention, graduation and transfer rates through the implementation of a college-wide student-retention program. Officials hope the plan will cause the percentage of student success to increase in the coming years.
Some professors have their own methods to get CCC students to succeed.
John Constantino, a world civilization professor, thinks the way students are taught has a big part to play with them staying enrolled long term.
Asked about the attendance rate in his classes through a semester, Constantino said he thought it was about 90 percent to 95 percent, while he believes the average attendance of students college wide is about 70 percent to 75 percent.
He said the attendance rate depends on the time and day of the week for the class as well as the type of student attending the class.
If a student really wants to better themselves and learn, they’ll do everything possible to be in class and participate, he said.
“To increase the attendance rate is to spark interest in the classes, and how do you spark interest?” Constantino asked. “Not just in the presentation, but showing the usefulness of the information to their daily lives.”
Students who showed up early for one of Constantino’s recent classes unanimously agreed with Constantino, who they said shows energy, passion, and a sense of humor as he teaches.
It keeps them coming back for each class, they said.