Don’t judge SCC by enrollment sways

Enrollment numbers might be down a little bit at Sampson Community College this fall, but that certainly should not — and in our view does not — diminish its great impact in this community nor define it as an educational institution.

It’s merely one of the many enrollment swings one sees, particularly at the community college level. That’s particularly true now at SCC, where opportunities for enrollment are expanding to include eight-week sessions, such as the one coming up next month.

Couple that with the three new programs added at our community college and a more aggressive summer program which saw enrollment numbers on the rise, and it’s easy to see that while the fall numbers have dropped slightly, from 1,505 in 20166 to 1,413, this semester, overall the college is welcoming more students into its doors.

And that’s the total picture one needs to look at when assessing how SCC is doing.

For our part, we think the college is doing great.

Again, take the summer as an example. The offerings over that time frame were expanded to help meet the demands of what college officials refer to as “visiting senior institution students,” something that has provided them more opportunities at academic success and the college growth in numbers during a time that has often lagged.

But the summer growth in student population can be a catalysts for a smaller enrollment in the fall, if one could infer that over 1,400 students is really small for a community college our size.

Suffice it to say, we believe our community college is doing a great job in reaching each type of student, whether involved in college transfer, GED or ConEd.

That’s what is so great about community colleges in general, and ours in particular. The courses offered reach out into the community and touch the lives of thousands of individuals, young and old, alike. And they meet the different needs, whether in nursing or truck driving, painting or photography, ag sciences or computer technology.

Much the same can be said of curriculum offerings that include college transfer and two-year degree programs.

And don’t forget students that participate in the Early College, which affords those involved both a high school diploma and a two-year degree as part of the five-year program. Amazing things are happening at the Early College and students involved find a niche they weren’t able to carve out in the regular classroom setting of most high schools. While the Early College isn’t for everybody, for those involved it’s a priceless educational gem that has meant success for them.

That’s really true for any student at SCC, no matter whether they are involved in the two-year program, the transfer program, Early College education or Continuing Ed. People find their niche and, what’s more, they find success.

Don’t believe it, listen to nursing students talk about the educations they are receiving at SCC and the jobs awaiting them upon graduation. Talk to students involved in photography and art classes about the enrichment they receive, or potential truck drivers about the experience they gain and the jobs it affords them upon completion of the course.

At every turn, SCC offers those who attend a chance to grow and expand their horizons and find success among people who genuinely care about the educational direction they take.

While it’s true that SCC’s enrollment isn’t where it was a couple years ago or where, for that matter, administrators prefer to see it, that should not be a reason for anyone to look down on the college or those who work diligently every day to provide students every opportunity at success.

The enrollment numbers don’t reflect any of those aspects of the college’s grand and continuing legacy and it should not dissuade anyone from considering enrolling in the institution. The academic excellence within its walls continues, and those who attend will never regret the experience.