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We experience the same problem here at Palo Alto College in San Antonio,
Texas.  Mostly, this can be chalked up to lower enrollments in the spring
session.  Also, our retention rates are markedly worse during spring
semesters.  Basically, students attend through spring break, long enough to
collect their grant money and complete the requisite 60% of the course so
they don't have to pay it back, and then drop out.

I believe your observation about students becoming more comfortable with
college life may be a very valid one, too.  In our institution, though, I
feel that student services staff does a much poorer job in the spring
"selling" our services to students.  It seems that in the fall, we're bigger
cheerleaders for our product than we are later in the year. Why that is so,
I'm not entirely certain.

I hope that helps.


   At 09:28 AM 6/22/01 -0400, you wrote:
>Colleagues:
>
>I hope you can help with this:
>
>As I complete my end-of-term report for my Dean, I notice a decrease in
>attendance in my learning center from fall to spring term-- fewer
>students requested peer tutoring in the spring term than in the fall
>term.  This mirrors my experience at my previous institution, giving rise
>to a pair of questions: (1) does anyone else experience a similar trend?
>(2) if so, to what to you attribute the drop-off?  (My current hypothesis
>is that first-year students utilize  tutoring services in fall term
>(their first) to kind of get their feet planted and then, after a
>semester of college, strike out on their own.  If this is correct, usage
>statistics should indicate a decline in usage among first-year students
>from fall to spring.  I'm going to look into this but, in the meantime, I
>sure would appreciate the thoughts of other professionals.)
>
>Many thanks in advance,
>
>Dave
>--
>David Shein
>Director of Academic Services
>Bard College
>Annandale-on-Hudson, NY 12504
>tel:  845-758-7811
>fax: 845-758-7646
>
***************************************************************
Mary Jo Garcia
Instructional Skills Specialist -- English
Student Learning Assistance Center
Palo Alto College
1400 W. Villaret
San Antonio, TX 78224
Office: Room 113 -- Palomino Center
Phone:  (210) 921-5199
Fax:    (210) 921-5129
Online Writing Lab (OWL):  http://www.accd.edu/pac/slac/owl.htm