Freshman deal with surviving at FGCU

Posted on December 15, 2011

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By: Alexis Conde

College is a time of self discovery. A place where young adults leave the comfort of their homes and venture out as independent people.

For some it’s a cornerstone, and for others it’s a party.

However, for most it can be an overwhelming experience.

“I don’t know if I can last at this school” admitted FGCU freshmen Meghan Corbett. “It’s not what I imagined for myself. I should be somewhere else.”

Corbett, 18, is a commuter majoring in nursing.

“I had the opportunity to go to a few different schools, but I picked FGCU because it was close to home and I could keep things the same. I should have done more research.”

Only 47 percent of students who enroll as a freshman will go on to graduate from the university.

Her remorse, as she said, isn’t that FGCU is a bad school just that it’s not quite the college she imagined.

“This isn’t the college life I pictured. FGCU is fine if you want a degree, not if you want an experience.”

Florida Gulf Coast is a young university, opening its doors in 1997, and to most lacks the lure of old tradition.

“My best friend went to Florida State and he had so much to pick from. Hundred year old fraternities with houses, clubs, Here [FGCU] it’s like we have to start everything ourselves. It’s pretty lame” said Tyler Pettis, 19.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) FGCU has a 78 percent freshmen retention rate for full time students and a 56 percent retention rate for part time. (Percentage is based on students who were enrolled in Fall 2009 and returned in Fall of 2010)

Although students may return for another year, most likely to complete an associates degree, the graduation rate is less than half.

“I had intentions of graduating,” said former FGCU student Kelsi Yankee “but I couldn’t stick it out. In a few years they’ll have their [FGCU] stuff together, but I can’t graduate when I’m 50.”

Yankee, 21, began attending FGCU in the Fall of 2008. Her hope was to finish school in four years and make some memories along the way.

Unfortunately, due to the university’s infant state, her plans did not follow suit.

“I grew up always having something to do; somewhere to go,” relented Yankee, “but over in Fort Myers I had nothing to do but get in trouble.”

“After a while all of my other friends at other colleges were passing me by. I new moving was my only hope.”

After a brief hiatus Yankee came to the realization her hopes of a typical college experience were marred by her impulsive decision to attend Gulf Coast.

However, that’s not to say all students are turned off by the idea of learning somewhere new.

“I chose Gulf Coast because I wanted to leave a legacy, not join something already established” said a very active Rachel Bachar, 22.

As the years continue to fly by Gulf Coast will see dramatic changes in both attendance, applicants, and college tradition, but for now there’s still an opportunity to make your mark.

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Posted in: Alexis Conde