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Students must aim to graduate on time

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A great majority of students who are enrolled in community colleges are not graduating within two years, or they’re simply not graduating at all.  

Prior to enrollment, many young adults, including myself, have had the notion that community college should only take a maximum of two years to complete an associate’s degree, to transfer or possibly even less for a certificate.

College years are supposed to be those to explore, whether it be through taking a variation of classes to find the right major or exploring one’s identity. I’ve heard of very few students who manage to pull this off and still graduate on time.

It was during my first year of college, after a not-so-successful semester, that I realized my time at Cosumnes River College was going to be a bit longer than I’d expected. I later found out that I wasn’t the only one facing this issue.

The reality is, nearly 16 percent of students pursuing a certificate and 5 percent of students pursuing an associate’s degree at the community college level actually graduate on time, according to a 2014 study by Complete College America, a nonprofit company which reports on student data.

With high hopes and very little planning, I continued at CRC without a clear idea of what it would take for me to graduate. I personally didn’t seek out enough guidance.

This may not only prolong the path towards graduation for students alike, but it can also deter them away from higher education altogether, as the road seems too distant.

A lack of college preparation for a large portion of students prior to enrollment may also pose as a problem when speaking in terms of student success, and is often a hurdle with extended consequences.

More than 50 percent of students who begin community college each year are required to take remedial level courses, according to CCA.  Only 1 in 10 of those students go on to graduate.

An extra year, more or less, in these skill building courses may mean more time and money for those who had only hoped to satisfy their initial two-year plan. That extra year can often turn into several.

In many cases those students who may still plan to finish college find that the time and costs far outweigh the benefits and take some time off, or they decide college just isn’t for them.

However, all is not lost, and some resilience may prove to be beneficial. Get back to the drawing board, and utilize as many student resources as possible.

It took two semesters before I sought help through CRC’s tutoring labs, or visited my professors during their office hours. The support is readily accessible and well worth the time for those who’d like to graduate, and in a timely manner.

Planning is key, and some good ol’ fashioned hard work is crucial. CRC has made resources like the Student Access Center, available for new and continuing students. There, new students can apply and complete steps to get enrolled. Continuing students may obtain counseling information, get registration assistance, complete financial aid packets, put together an educational plan and so on. These resources give students a clear idea of what is needed to graduate, and how much time it is going to take them.

Many students don’t utilize the number of resources available here, on campus, that could prove as beneficial towards their own success and have them out of here in two, maybe three years at most. But, why not start now?  

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Students must aim to graduate on time