The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

The student news site of El Camino College

El Camino College The Union

Students Missing In Action

Upon returning to his nutrition class, business major Aaron James, 21, finds that half of the students have vanished.

But they haven’t disappeared from the planet. They’re just not in their seats.

These missing students are just another statistic in the increasing withdrawal rate on campus.

“Drop rates here look like they have gone up compared to last semester,” James said.

The prevailing reason for withdrawing from classes is that college students pack their schedules with an overload of work.

This issue forces students to change their work schedules, quit their jobs entirely, or drop a class.

In some cases, students cannot accommodate their work schedules because of their class hours, counselor Dr. Linda Arroyo said.

“We have done surveys in the past and actually called students to ask why they have dropped their classes,” Arroyo said.

“One of the key problems is that they do not have enough money,” she said.

Increased prices in units and books also contribute to students’ lack of funding, and therefore the high withdrawal rate.

“The twenty-six per unit cost is starting to affect the student,” counselor Chris Jeffries said. “Also, the cost of textbooks is really high.”

Though financial aid is still available for the part-time student, full-timers reap the full reward.

“Being a full-time student allows them to receive the full amount of financial aid,” Arroyo said. “Students just do not understand that.”

Money’s not the only hassle. Family emergencies also show up high on the list of reasons.

“A family can leave and not live in this location anymore, or something might have happened in the family where the student couldn’t continue school,” Arroyo said.

James said he usually drops a class every semester because he cannot manage to study and work at the same time.

Like many college students, James likes to leave time for fun.

“I prefer to party than to study, but there are those rainy days where I am forced to study,” James said.

Hanging out instead of hitting the books is another cause for the high withdrawal rate, James said.

There aren’t any particular courses that have an outstanding withdrawal rate, Jeffries said.

However, students are more likely to get rid of math classes.

“Math classes have a higher attrition rate, so professors add extra students knowing that some of them are going to withdraw before the end of the semester,” Jeffries said.

Counselors advise students having problems with staying in their classes to attend a student enhancement workshop the college offers.

“It’s for students who are on probation or for students who have dropped more than fifty percent of their classes,” Jeffries said.

The workshop demonstrates skills to help students stay in college, Jeffries said.

“It’s been effective for some students,” counseling office program assistant Roosevelt Lucas said.

“They say they can pick themselves up because of the motivation and the helpful tips the counselors give,” he said.

The workshop runs weekly through the semester. Students can sign-up at the counseling office.

Students withdraw from classes so often because the process is an uncomplicated one, James said.

“There can be programs offered by the campus and (professors) can try to teach the students how to manage their time,” he said.

“But when the slightest thing goes wrong, any student can go online and drop the class and not feel bad about it,” James said. “It’s that easy.”

Despite that, counselors say they will be available for the students whenever they need them and are always ready to give advice.

“The fact that these (students) are in a community college is probably the best decision they have made,” Arroyo said.

“If they turn their grades around now and stop dropping classes, the universities will realize they just had a rocky start.”

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