February 26, 2014
Commit

Why Commit to Complete Your Degree?

If you’ve seen me around campus lately, you may have noticed that I’ve been wearing a green wristband with the word “Commit” on it in big, bold letters. What’s this all about? Three years ago, Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society for two-year colleges, launched the Community College Completion Core (better known as C4). FRCC is participating, along with hundreds of other community colleges across the country.

This student-led initiative aims to make students more aware of the importance and benefits of completing a degree or credentialed program—and encourage them to commit to doing so. Phi Theta Kappa chapters everywhere are inspiring students at their colleges to pledge to complete their education and support their fellow students in doing the same thing.

You’ll Be More Marketable

There are so many reasons why students should commit to earning their degrees, but the bottom line is that having a college degree means greater marketability and a more stable career with higher earning power. In just a few years, 65 percent of all new jobs will require a post-secondary credential. Yet many students don’t complete:

  • Only 45 percent of entering college students who plan to earn an associate degree meet that goal within six years.
  • The United States has fallen from having the highest percentage of citizens with postsecondary degrees to 16th (among 34 industrialized economies).

FRCC Students Get Fired Up

FRCC has Phi Theta Kappa chapters at our Westminster (includes Brighton and online students), Larimer, and Boulder County campuses. Here are a few of the great ways our students are embracing this wonderful effort to get our students fired up about setting and achieving an educational goal:

  • Colorado College Completion Day celebration – On Nov. 22, 2013, students from Larimer Campus and Westminster Campus gathered with students from other community colleges on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol to celebrate the recent Colorado legislation proclaiming Nov. 22 as Community College Completion Day.
  • Pledge campaign – Westminster Campus ran a campaign in November and collected almost 500 signatures for pledges to Commit to Complete. Creation of a display is underway, and students who reach their goals will be recognized at commencement in May 2014. As Susan McGrath, the chapter faculty advisor, puts it, “My hope is that the act of committing to their goals in public will help students remain dedicated to finishing their education. We want to provide reminders and a sense of accountability.”
  • Display of student signatures – At Larimer, students, faculty, and staff can sign “bricks” pledging their commitment, and Phi Theta Kappa displays them on foam boards. Altogether, Larimer Campus has close to 1,000 bricks.

Keep Your Eye on the Finish Line

I know that most students have great intentions when it comes to college. They plan to earn their degrees, but when life gets in the way it’s too easy to put college on the back burner. Taking the Commit to Complete pledge is a way to set a goal, embrace the challenge, and engage with your fellow students in your collective efforts to complete college.

So, next time you see someone around campus wearing a Commit band, congratulate them. They have joined a movement to finish their degrees or certificates here at FRCC. They have pledged their commitment to learning, attending classes, making the most of their education, and helping others succeed, too. I know you’ll join me in wishing them luck in their journey, and I hope that you too will commit to your educational goals—and making them a reality.

About the author:

Andy Dorsey is the President of Front Range Community College. He joined FRCC in 1993, teaching psychology and economics and earning Master Teacher honors in 1999. Before becoming an educator, he worked as a project manager in two businesses, non-profit manager, and legislative director for a Congressman.

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