A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Life After High School

It’s not a must that we go to college after high school, although many people do. But a select few choose not to go to college and start working after they graduate.

According to Vayta Smith, head of admissions and records at Santa Rosa Junior College, enrollment increased 2.71 percent this year. There are 26,089 students attending SRJC as of August 2015, compared to 25,401 during Fall 2014.

There are approximately 5,000 students at the Petaluma campus and 4,795 students taking online classes.

According to Smith, SRJC pays its faculty through a system called Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES), which means they are paid by the number of classes SRJC students take collectively. FTES decreased by 2.05 percent this year. This may have to do with people’s need for an income.

Riley Marincic, 20, said she was tired of doing schoolwork. The 2013 Cloverdale High School graduate said she wanted a more hands-on approach to life, so she enlisted in the army at age 17, to become a mechanic.

“It’s honestly what I love to do, I get to repel from three story towers and go to the range every month-and I work on vehicles,” Marincic said.

She acquired multiple skills in the army she may not have acquired in college. She learned how to change her oil, replace a master cylinder and other mechanical techniques involving vehicles. Marincic also said going into the army after high school taught her how important citizen’s rights are in America.

Shaylee Roberts also chose an alternative route and went straight to work after high school.

Roberts is a server at a fly-fishing lodge in Idaho. She said working has taught her about “real” adult life. Roberts moved out of her parent’s house and now rents her own apartment. She pays her own bills and taxes. Roberts lives on her own and plans on attending Idaho State University.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study,” Roberts said, “I also wanted to earn money for school, because I’m paying for it on my own,”

Several SRJC students who chose to go to college after high school felt they wouldn’t be motivated to go back to school if they took a year off. Katie Menzel, a current SRJC student said she wanted to focus on getting an education so she could get her dream job.

Cost is another factor in the decision to enroll in college. Although SRJC and other community colleges are more affordable than CSUs or universities, some students believe the cost is still too high. SRJC student Cole MacDonald said if the schools and/or the government is concerned about our education, then community colleges need to be free, just like a lot of Western European countries. But with enrollment averaging about $900 for full time students, SRJC has proven that community college is more affordable than 4-year colleges.

SRJC is doing a lot to advertise itself. The school is adding more classes and reaching out to the community to get more people to enroll and further their education at SRJC.

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