First-year students share experiences and expectations
After spending one semester at college away from their parents, freshmen seem to have everything figured out. They know what to expect when they attend class, they start to get in the loop about what is happening on the weekends and they don’t feel so small anymore.
“If I stay focused [this semester], I’ll do really well like last semester,” freshman Paige Agresti said. After spending her first semester at college, she said that she realized she needed to better manage her time between doing homework and hanging out during the week and weekends. She added that she wants to have more time to read for pleasure this semester.
“I hope to bring my grades up a little bit,” freshman Julia McNamara commented. She explained that she didn’t get to go to many campus events last semester such as the sporting events and some hosted by the Social Activities Council. She added that she wants to get her G.P.A. up and to have more group activities with her hall in Holloway, one of the freshmen residence halls on campus.
Although the excitement of living in a college campus seems to amuse many young students, there are some students who feel like they don’t fit and end up leaving for different reasons.
Chelsea Harris, a Resident Assistant in Holloway Hall, had two students leave prior to the start of this spring semester. She explained that one dropped out mid-semester around November while the other one didn’t return for this semester.
Harris explained that the student who dropped out mid-semester wasn’t ready for what college was. She added that the student didn’t think high school prepared them well enough for college. For the student not returning, Harris commented that college wasn’t what they expected both academically and socially. Harris added that the student was used to being around people she knew well and wasn’t fully ready for the transition of basically not knowing anyone at all.
Director of Admission, Peg Richmond, said there are many different reasons for a student to drop-out or transfer. According to Richmond, students may have struggled with the academic requirements, discovered another opportunity elsewhere, been unable to meet the cost or just never made the adjustment.
“It’s not the end of the world if they don’t find the right place,” Richmond said.
With a semester under their belt, freshmen know what to experience this spring semester.
Agresti said she expects a lot of work in her ITW (Introduction to Thinking and Writing) and in her sociology class. She is an early childhood education major.
Although college is known to be fun time for most, one of the hardest things is to transition from being at home and surrounded by family to being at school without.
“It’s nice being independent, but I miss my family,” McNamara said. She also commented that she misses her twin brother and sister who are currently in second grade. “It’s hard missing some of their childhood,” she confessed.
The exact number of students who dropped out or transferred prior to this spring semester will be available after 30 days from the start of the semester, according to Cathy Turrentine, director of Institutional Research. In an email response, she explained that the files are “frozen” until the last week of February.
Richmond explained that the files are frozen because Institutional Research has to have an official head-count, and when the add-drop period ends, the numbers will stop changing and become final. Richmond added that they can’t count the number of students during this period because they are always dropping out of classes and adding different ones and it is too hard to manage. Richmond also added that for a student to be added in the official head count, they have to “be registered for a class regardless of the number of credits.” Full-time, part-time, continuing education, graduate and many other students like these are added into the official count Richmond explained. Another aspect of the head count is that these students are matriculated.
“You applied for and were admitted into a degree program with the goal of getting a degree from Keene State [College],” Richmond commented.
For the Fall 2012 semester, Admission admitted 4956 students out of the 6315 that applied, according to Richmond. Of that just under 5000 mark, only 26 percent enrolled for the semester. Admissions currently has over 4600 applications to look over for the fall of 2013. The number of applicants has been slowly declined over the years though, according to Richmond.
“We have seen a decline in applications. That is due largely to the demographics,” Richmond said. She added that the department knew 10 years ago that the number of applications declined, but that there was nothing they could do to combat it.
“There are fewer kids applying to college because their are fewer kids out there,” Richmond concluded.
Michael Woodworth can be contacted at email@example.com