The first two phases of Strategic Enrollment Management have been about attracting applicants and having them enroll as TCC students.
Once we have them, we have to keep them. But we haven’t been terribly successful at this.
Returning students, who represent the best opportunities for program completion, are down 5.9 percent for spring 2016.
Why do students drift? These are some of the reasons:
- Our catalog is difficult to navigate
- General education requirements are too confusing
- Students don’t understand prerequisites or course sequencing
- They withdraw from courses without consulting an advisor
- They receive insufficient advising
- They change majors late in their academic careers
We boast in our advertising that we have 150 programs and hundreds of courses. That range of choices can be a good thing, but most students are uncertain about their career interests, so they feel overwhelmed.
Only 13.2 percent of full-time TCC students complete a two-year degree in three years. Even after four years, the graduation rate is a paltry 20 percent.
VCCS has called for a tripling of credentials by 2021, so clearly, we have to do better.
As part of the third phase of SEM, TCC is fundamentally changing its approach to academics and student retention. I will talk more about it in my next post.