Dropouts Get Second Chance to Earn Diploma
Camden County College will hold an information session tonight on its new Transition to College program, offering a chance for dropouts to get ahead academically.
Students who dropped out of high school in Camden County not only have a second chance to earn their diploma—they can get started on a college degree as well.
Camden County College (CCC) is expanding its outreach to high school dropouts with its new Transition to College Program, beginning in the fall. Students interested in learning more can attend an information session tonight, July 24, at the CCC campus at 6 p.m.
Transition to College is open to any Camden County student, age 16-20, who dropped out of high school and wants to earn a diploma. Students attend courses at CCC’s Blackwood campus that cover both the high school curriculum and earn students college credit.
“We’re not looking for them to get the minimal high school degree,” says Fred Cappello, dean of CCC’s Division of School and Community Academic Programs. “We want them to transition into college and continue that pursuit.
“We want to offer them some hope. Some people might say, ‘Well these students dropped out, so forget them.’ But you can’t forget them. These are our kids and we want to make them productive citizens.”
Dropouts are usually “students who have no light at the end of the tunnel,” Cappello adds. “In this economy, even if you’re credentialed, it’s very difficult to get a job.”
The economic effects of not earning a diploma are stark. One in four young dropouts are jobless, according to the U.S. Labor Department. About 1.3 million teens drop out of high school each year—7,000 daily— amounting to $100 billion in lost wages and taxes. High school dropouts earn $260,000 less over their career than someone with a diploma.
Nationwide, 28 percent of high school students don’t graduate, according to BoostUp, a dropout prevention group. New Jersey’s non-graduation rate stands at 13 percent.
Students in Transition to College are “historically those who can’t or don’t succeed at a normal high school program for a variety of reasons,” Cappello says. While some things are the same as at high school—classes meet for 180 days annually, the sending high school district approves the curriculum and standardized tests needed for graduation are given—students can learn at their own pace with more individual attention from CCC faculty and staff.
Transition students also get a taste of college life by taking classes on the CCC campus and mingling with students.
CCC has a similar program for dropouts from Camden City, but wanted to expand the program countywide. While the Camden program runs through a grant, the Transition to College program is funded by students’ sending district. The program charges $4,000 per semester, roughly half of the average cost per pupil in Camden County high schools, according to data from the New Jersey Department of Education. Sending districts must approve a student’s enrollment in the Transition program.
CCC will hold an information session tonight on the Transition to College program for potential students and their family members. The session is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Forum of the Connector Building. The Blackwood campus is located at College Drive and Peter Cheeseman Road in Gloucester Township.
For more information, call Division of School & Community Academic Programs by telephone at 856-227-7200, ext. 4530.