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Finish up and make a difference

By Anthony Booth | Pulse Staff Reporter

CompletionIn the city of San Antonio, only 23.7 percent of the population has a bachelor’s degree or higher which means that many students who begin college don’t complete higher education.

“I believe that academically students here can do the work, but the social issues cause them to fail,” said Dr. Daniel Rodriguez, a licensed professional counselor and professor at Palo Alto College.

Rodriguez believes that Palo Alto College can do a better job of retaining the students.

“We owe it to the community to educate the students," said Rodriguez. “So they can go on to live successful lives.”

Mary Grace Perez, a sophomore at Palo Alto College, said, “College is hard because I feel like the professor and I were never really on the same page. The workload sometimes got to be too much for me, and I ended up stressing out in a lot of my classes.”

Many programs on campus help students to increase their chances of completing college. Such programs are things like tutoring, career services, counseling and work-study programs that are available free of charge to Palo Alto College students.

Since these services were made available at Palo Alto College, an increase in students completing their education has occurred. Just last year, there were 1,603 degrees and certificates awarded to students for completing their education at Palo Alto College. However, with enrollment at 8,500 students, this means there is room for growth.

Lanette Garza, director of Institutional Research, Planning, and Effectiveness, said, “We are trending upward. Data informs everything.”

She said that it is important to know these rates because it allows the college to see what works to help students complete their education.

Aracely Reyes Bowling, a recruiter and adviser for graduation, said, “The rates will only get higher as the campus looks for new ways to reach out to students.”

She suggested that students should be aware of who their faculty adviser is for their major, and she encouraged students to go and talk with them to make sure they are on the right track for graduation.

“I think we should work together in showing the students the importance of getting a degree,” said Bowling. She said that it is important for students to finish their education because it leads to better paying jobs, and it gets them involved in society.

Students need to make it a goal to stay focused and complete college. In doing so, they will be able to graduate and fulfill their aspirations. The deadline for December graduation was October 19, 2012. The May graduation deadline will be announced later. For more information, contact the Center of Academic Transitions at (210) 486-3131, or drop by to see them in Palo Alto's Student Center.