I have jumped thru your hoops, twisted, bent and contorted myself into unfathomable positions, leaped, backtracked, leaped again, ducked obstacles, dodged bullets, placated, paced and pantomimed, stretched myself even further than the laws of physics predicted with its paramount of plausible possibilities and yet I still have not been able to register for the ONE CLASS I need to graduate.
Why? Because for some odd reason every semester someone out there decides that the prerequisites for my required class must change.
Now Dick, I understand that you want to keep up with all the other colleges out there and maybe this ever-shifting nebulous of random requirements is the way everyone else is doing things, but judging on my experience at Portland Community College and the statistics from American School Association and NACADA, that’s not exactly what your community college colleagues are doing. You see, Dick, constantly changing course requirements and taking away the instructors ability to over-ride random, unneeded pre-requisites stresses students and pisses them off.
Requiring students to take courses that are not relevant to their major is a great way to get them to not come back next year. And these policies are starting to show in national statistics. Nationwide, community colleges have a retention rate of 60 percent, according to NACADA. SLCC is not doing too badly there, with a retention rate of 57 percent, just below the national average. It’s the actual completion of the course requirements to get a degree that is where we are falling behind. SLCC has a graduation rate of 24 percent, compared to a national average of 37 percent AND according to NACADA, only 14-18 percent of SLCC students who graduate go on to further education whereas the national average is 27 percent.
Dick, this low graduation rate is not due to your teachers. SLCC has some of the most caring and dedicated teachers I have ever had the pleasure to meet, and most students I have spoken to have similar experiences. It is not due to your tuition rates or the school fees or the cost of books and equipment. It is simply because, as students, we are sick of wasting our time and money on classes that are not required or relevant to the degree we are pursuing just to get into the class that is required for our major.
I have been trying and failing to get into this one class ever since it opened up for registration in spring. This class is only offered in the fall. There is only one time it is available and one instructor who teaches it. I am supposed to graduate in the spring but unless I get into this class, which has two pre-requisites that weren’t required when I started this program and that I do NOT need for my degree, I won’t be able to graduate. I am not the only student with this dilemma. I have been to enrollment services, academic advising, student services, the instructor, the program director, the assistant department chair and the department head. It shouldn’t be this hard.
Dick, you promised when I started that the courses listed then, no matter what, would be the only ones I needed to graduate. You need to keep your promises, Dick, and allow those of us who do not need the new prerequisites to take the classes we need. Or just keep on doing what you’re doing and watch your graduation rate continue to drop because I, for one, will not be sticking around until next fall when this class is available again just to see what new hoops I have to jump thru next.
A very frustrated Phi Thetta Kappa student currently with 65 credits, which will be 77 after summer semester, only 63 of which are relevant and required for my major with still two more semesters to go who averages 15 credit hours per semester and has a cumulative GPA of 3.65 and works three part time jobs.