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A nonlinear way to help retention rates

As we’re slowly getting into the swing of Fall semester, we’re left with a handful of questions.

Enrollment is down at Palomar for the fifth year in a row. In our conversations with school officials, they’ve assured us that this is normal and everything is fine.

But we can’t help but question that.

From what Palomar officials have said, enrollment tends to decline when the economy gets better. Our economy is a lot better than it was several years ago, sure.

In fact, from what we’ve heard, enrollment for community colleges is down across the country.

But the enrollment at MiraCosta college isn’t on a decline. In fact, it’s actually not only stable, but is slightly higher than it was last semester, according to the Public Information people we talked to there.

Christine Miciano, a former Palomar student who is now attending MiraCosta, said that there is more of a sense of community there. She described MiraCosta’s environment as “just more positive.”

Whatever the reason, the fact remains that MiraCosta has had less of a decline in enrollment than our campus has.

What Palomar should be doing is finding out what MiraCosta is doing right, and applying those ideas here.

Palomar College, at one time, had a reputation of being a prestigious school. We can certainly continue this tradition.

To campus officials: This semester is proving to be off to a rougher start than previous ones. With the loss of a huge chunk of the faculty and staff (due to an early retirement offer), it’s hard to believe that this hasn’t affected the campus in a huge way.

We urge campus officials to strive for putting students first. There’s nothing wrong with admiting when things aren’t working if those mistakes can be fixed.

To the students: Palomar lacks student involvement. The school’s retention rates are lower than at colleges.

We get it. As a student, it’s hard to care or get involved at a college that, if all goes to plan, you’ll only spend a couple years at.

But you’ll never be hurt by showing a little enthusiasm for where you are now.

In conclusion, the enrollment numbers here don’t matter nearly as much as the fact that another college seems to be doing a better job.

But we can do something in spite of that. We at Palomar, both the students and the faculty, should work together to create a campus that is inclusive, connected and welcoming to all.

A place where people can feel like they belong, even if it’s just for a little while.

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