St. Clair College Leads Pack

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

EDUCATION: Fall Enrolment Highest in Province

By Bob Boughner

Applications for fall enrolment at St. Clair College are currently 16% higher than at any of Ontario's 24 colleges.

"Chatham-Kent and Windsor-Essex are definitely on the radar screen of students from across the province,'' Ann Hetherington, director of student recruitment, told The Daily News Monday.

Ken McEwan, director Ridgetown campus of the University of Guelph, said after three record years of enrolment the outlook for next fall is stable.

"It's always possible the numbers may spike in the coming weeks but at this point I think we will just maintain what we have,'' he said.

McEwan said, that with current economic conditions the way they are, the agricultural industry is looking pretty good with plenty of job opportunities.

Hetherington said applications from students in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as well as Kitchener-Waterloo and London areas are up 32.4% over 2011.

She said the increases are showing up in most areas of specialization, including engineering technologies, media, arts and design, business and IT, and health sciences, as well as in programs at the college's Thames Campus.

Hetherington said a number of factors have contributed to the increase.

"The college has been extremely aggressive in the GTA market visiting more than 110 high schools in Mississauga, Brampton and Barrie alone,'' she said.

She said college officials also attended what was one considered to be an exclusively university-driven education fair - The Student Life Expo in Toronto last fall -which annually attracts more than 65,000 potential students and their parents.

"We participated for the first time and students reacted well to the college's message,'' she said.

Hetherington said fuelling the increased interest in St. Clair College is the launch of a number of high-demand programs such as diagnostic medical sonography, respiratory therapy and cardiovascular technology where applications are up 86% compared to last year.

She said the programs are housed in the recently-opened state-of-the-art learning lab facility - the Centre for Applied Health Sciences - in Windsor.

Other new offerings at the Windsor campus include public relations, media convergence, community and justice services, web and interactive advertising and truck and coach techniques.

Five new programs have also been introduced at the Chatham campus including powerline technician, sustainable energy technician, electromechanical robotics technician, electrical engineering technician and electrical techniques.

Hetherington said once a student applies, the college has an excellent track record of bringing them on board as registered students.

She said St. Clair has the highest applicant to registrant conversion rate in southern and central Ontario including the GTA.

"Last year St. Clair registered 53.9% of all applicants to the college, compared to an average of about 32% at other colleges,'' she said.

Hetherington said St. Clair College has also recently announced it will offer the maximum scholarship allowed by the OCAA for varsity athletes. She said it's a message that has been embraced by applicants.

"St. Clair College will also continue its focus on new program development with an eye to preparing students for careers of the future,'' she said. "Health sciences, technology and skilled trades are areas of concentration as the trends for future employment show career growth in these sectors.''

bboughner@chathamdailynews.ca.