‘Busting at the seams’

Published 3:47 pm Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Nursing students at Jefferson Davis Community College’s Atmore campus use new tools to study Tuesday afternoon.

With classes for the fall semester already closed at Jefferson Davis Community College, officials are happy to see enrollment and registration steady with most areas of study showing constant growth.

Lee Barrentine, director of student recruitment, enrollment and retention at JDCC, said the registration and enrollment process at the institution was seeing continued and steady growth.

“Our enrollment is certainly up from last year’s numbers,” Barrentine said. “We are seeing steady growth in several areas in both our Atmore and Brewton classes.”

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Although the final tally for enrollment isn’t official with the drop/add time period just ending, Barrentine is confident that student enrollment is continuing to increase.

“We are seeing some shift in our students and the classes they are choosing,” Barrentine said. “Over the last three years, we have seen an increase in students who are changing gears and choosing technical programs over some of our academic programs. Many people are coming to realize there are some really good technical jobs out there they can get with a two-year technical degree. I think a lot of colleges are seeing that same shift all across the state.”

Barrentine said some of the technical programs offered on the Atmore campus are “busting at the seams” as students complete the enrollment program and begin attending classes.

“I have seen some of our technical classes fill really quickly once registration begins,” Barrentine said. “We had the air conditioning and refrigeration class filled in the first 45 minutes of registration. That class filled up quickly and a lot of the other classes filled up fast. In years past, we had actually closed some of the technical classes on specific days due to a lack of interested students. We don’t have that problem any more.”

Barrentine said academic enrollment is increasing in certain areas – thanks to two successful programs at JDCC.

“Our nursing program has always been popular and is still filling every spot available every semester,” Barrentine said. “We are seeing more Florida students coming to class at JDCC to get pre-requisites taken care of here on campus rather than at other institutions. Our nursing program admits students on a point system and by taking those pre-requisites here, they are able to earn a few extra points that might make the difference in being admitted to our nursing program. It’s very competitive and some of those students are learning that every point helps in getting into the program.”

Barrentine said one other area of student increase has occurred since the college is offering an opportunity to earn a four-year degree in Brewton.

“We have seen some people coming back to finish up their two-year degree so they can take advantage of the four-year degree program through Huntingdon right here on our campus,” Barrentine said. “Some people who wanted to take advantage of the Huntingdon program found out they need a class or two to be eligible to take those classes. We were able to get those classes for those students and they have gone on to get their degree on our campus.”

Helping students achieve academic or technical success is the focus of the faculty and staff at JDCC, Barrentine said.

“When we go and talk to high school students and their parents, we explain that attending a community college is the best transition for everyone going to college,” Barrentine said. “When we track our students who go on to a four-year college from here, we have a 98 percent success rate that our student go on to achieve success in their college education. That’s a wonderful success rate and we’re happy to be a part of that right here at JDCC.”

Barrentine said it’s never too early to consider a college career with the next semester beginning in January 203.

“The way time can get away from you, it’s certainly not too early to begin thinking and preparing for our spring semester of classes,” Barrentine said. “We have people here every day who can help with financial aid or scholarship applications. We have people who can talk to prospective students about courses of study with specific goals in mind. We’re here for the community and we’re here to help our students become successful in whatever field of study they choose.”

To learn more about JDCC’s program offerings, financial aid or career counseling, contact them by calling 867-4832 in Brewton or 368-8118 in Atmore or visit their Website at www.jdcc.edu.