Budget cuts and landlocked campuses are forcing universities to cap enrollment and leave many prospective freshmen disappointed when they are not accepted.
Smart students are making Richmond Community College their first choice for college and either taking their freshman and sophomore years of college locally or selecting college majors that take them into the job market or on to bachelor’s degrees.
RCC President Dr. Dale McInnis shared these insights with a group of public school counselors from Richmond and Scotland Counties during a Tech Prep luncheon held Friday at RCC.
He said RCC needed the counselors to help these students stay on top of the application process and make sure they are ready to schedule classes for fall semester on June 29.
“We see our students as individuals, and I think that is our strength. We want to build upon that and work with you to make sure we address the evolving role of public schools, community colleges and universities and how our services meet the needs of our students,” said McInnis.
The annual luncheon is one of two meetings of public school counselors and RCC personnel to update counselors on RCC offerings.
It is sponsored by a Tech Prep grant, which has funded ACCUPLACER assessments for high school seniors, WorkKey assessments for Scotland High School Seniors, Truck Day for Richmond County first graders, Third Graders Go to Work for Richmond County students and Sixth Grade Career Day at RCC for Richmond County students.
“We’ve met with high school counselors for decades,” said RCC Recruiter Jennipher Love. “The more they know about the college, the better they can serve their students. It is especially good for counselors in the younger grades because of our year-long activities with them. They also see the parents of young children and can tell them about RCC’s offerings.”
McInnis told counselors the college specifically has college transfer and technical programs. For the technical programs, the college is promoting more certificate and diploma options that build upon each other and lead to associate in applied science degrees.
“We want students seeking careers in technical fields to have the option to get a certificate or diploma plus the Career Readiness Certification during their first year here. Then they have something to take into the workplace that says they have a specific set of skills. When they are ready, they can return to RCC and apply those credits to a diploma or an associate in applied science degree. We want our students to have options so there is always a door open to them in the future, including transferring to universities,” McInnis said.
Scholarships were a topic of interest to counselors. McInnis said the college will award all existing scholarships this year and has a goal of establishing 50 more scholarships over the next two years. He wants to aim those at high school seniors whose parents make too much money for students to receive Pell grants, but who find full-time tuition and textbooks is beyond their budgets.
Richmond Senior High School Counselor Don Smeigh asked about having RCC faculty visit the high school campuses. McInnis said those discussions have begun and he hopes to build stronger relationships with faculty of both high schools.
He envisions demonstrations by RCC faculty to be presented at the high schools, and those classes, in turn, can visit RCC’s campus to use equipment for special projects.