Orange Coast College's Admissions and Records Office has noted some interesting trends in student applications and registration data over the past five years according to a report drafted by admissions dean, Dr. Nancy L. Kidder.
Kidder made her findings public in an oral report delivered Tuesday (Dec. 2) to the college's Administrative Cabinet.
The number of students who have applied to OCC over the past five years between 1998 and 2003 has increased by 31 percent.
"Increased college applications has become a nationwide trend," Kidder told cabinet members. "The 'baby boomlet' seems to be one reason for that increase."
The boomlet has insured that more students are graduating today from the nation's high schools than 10 years ago.
"But, that's only one factor that has impacted the number of applications we're receiving. It's also important to note that it has become increasingly difficult for students to get into higher education in this country, so students are attempting to improve their odds by applying to more institutions."
While applications have risen by 31 percent at OCC over the past five years, enrollment has increased by a more modest nine percent.
The college is awarding 16 percent more associate in arts degrees and certificates of achievement now than it did five years ago.
"We have made a concerted effort in recent years to increase our graduation numbers, and these latest statistics demonstrate the fact that our efforts have been successful," she said.
Requests by former OCC students for copies of their student transcripts has increased by 11 percent in the last five years.
"We're an older institution founded in 1947 so we have a very large pool of graduates and former students out there in the community," Kidder said. "Today, many employers require that job applicants supply copies of their college transcripts during the interview process. Increasing numbers of our former students are returning to campus to request transcripts."
Kidder says incoming transcripts transcripts sent to OCC by other colleges for their students who are transferring to Coast have increased by 15 percent over the past five years.
"Approximately 50 percent of our 27,000 students have attended other colleges before enrolling at Orange Coast College," Kidder said. "Our Admissions Office is seeing an ever-growing number of transcripts arriving from other college campuses."
OCC's student population is getting younger. Since 1995, Kidder said, the college has increased its number of students below the age of 21 by 38 percent. Eight years ago, 34 percent of Orange Coast College's student population was under age 21. Today's figure is 47 percent.
A total of 70 percent of OCC's students this fall are under the age of 25. Fifty-nine percent were under 25 in 1995.
OCC this fall is showing greater diversity in its student population. Eight years ago, 54 percent of the college's students were Caucasian. That number is now 48 percent. Hispanic/Latino students have grown from 12 percent of the student population in 1995 to 16.4 percent today. Asian students have been holding steady the past three years at 22 percent of the total population.
Female students, which comprised 54 percent of OCC's student body last year, dipped to 52 percent this fall. Brand new, first-time students make up 30 percent of OCC's fall 2003 population.