Focus on Students
Chesapeake College campaign aimed at late-deciding students

College awareness effort emphasizes economy-driven decision-makers

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Preston resident Kendall Hutchison, left, and 2-year-old son Nathan talk with Chesapeake College Advisor Nick Sim Monday at the Wye Mills Campus. Hutchison was adding a course to her Spring 2013 schedule of classes.Photo by Marcie Molloy 

WYE MILLS –Farhan Augustine, who was at Chesapeake College’s Wye Mills Campus on Monday registering for a Spring 2013 class, said the economy figured prominently in his enrollment decisions.

"I usually register earlier," said the Chester resident, echoing a theme voiced by numerous students Monday morning. "The economy is playing a big role in my decisions, especially the classes I’m choosing."

Chesapeake College officials said more students than ever are waiting to make their enrollment decisions due to economic factors.

"We have a lot of students on the fence," said Dr. Richard Midcap, the college’s vice president for student success and enrollment services. "And when we ask them why, more often than not they give economic reasons – they’ve lost their jobs or had their hours reduced; they’re already dipping into savings to make ends meet; they’re nervous about their job security. It’s just a tough economy."

The college is attempting to reach out to those students with a January marketing initiative asking those students to let Chesapeake be their "New Year’s Resolution." The campaign includes full-color, half-page advertisements along with post cards to students who attended Chesapeake last spring and summer but did not attend in the fall. The college is also setting up a webpage specifically to help those students reengage with the college: www.chesapeake.edu/restartfuture.

"College starts to look like a discretionary expense in a poor economy," observed Kathy Petrichenko, Chesapeake’s dean for recruitment services. "In fact, the opposite is true. Individuals with a college degree make more money and tend to have more job security than those without it."

National statistics support those claims. According to 2012 U.S. Department of Labor statistics, the median annual salary for an individual with an associate’s degree ($39,936) is 20.4 percent higher than an individual with just a high school diploma ($33,176). Another Labor Department report showed that unemployment rates decline as individuals’ degree attainment – from associate’s to bachelor’s to master’s to doctorate – increases.

Some students – such as Preston resident Kendall Hutchison and Neavitt resident Catherine Hollis – are making late, strategic decisions based upon class availability and cost.

"I usually register earlier," said Hutchison, while holding 2-year-old son Nathan and waiting for her turn with an academic advisor. "They just opened up (a seat) in a class I needed. I had been registered for three courses and I picked up a fourth one."

Hutchison, a 2007 Easton High School graduate who began college as a high school Dual Enrollment student, is studying in the Physical Therapist Assistant program.

"I was originally planning to go into nursing, but the longer I’m in it (PTA program), the more I like it."

The 61-year-old Hollis was taking advantage of a program that allows senior citizens to pay just fees and not tuition close to class start dates when a course section is not full.

"I’m trying to take pre-requisite courses to go into pharmacy," said Hollis. "I noticed this morning there was one seat in an A & P (Anatomy and Physiology) course, but someone beat me to it.

"I did find a seat in a microbiology course that I need," added Hollis, who said she "took these courses before, but it was a hundred years ago in England" and she needed more current coursework.

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