Illinois Valley Community College counselors, registrars and cashiers are working long hours this week and next to accommodate late registering students leading up to Wednesday’s start of fall classes.
Ottawa Center counselor Valery Calvetti worked a 12-hour day Aug. 9 to ensure incoming students were in the appropriate courses for their academic plan. She said there are many reasons students choose to enroll just days before a semester start.
“There is a misunderstanding that students who register so close to the start of the semester are procrastinating,” she said in a press statement. “In my experience, students who come in right before the start of a semester are facing, for the most part, a new-found reason to start college.
“Maybe they’ve been passed over for a promotion, because they didn’t have their college degree or they’ve learned their employer will support their education and the start of the semester is looming,” Calvetti said.
Recent high school graduates sometimes do not realize until late in the summer the cost of attending a four-year university will result in considerable student loan debt.
“Traditional students planning on going away may have crunched the numbers and learned there just isn’t enough money or a family member needs their care — so they delay the move away,” she said.
Calvetti assures late arrivers IVCC still has many opportunities to offer.
“Realistically there are students who wait until the last minute, but that’s the way some of us roll — the options for class times are a little less, but we can still help them get a full schedule,” she said.
Today’s students, especially working adults, are adding the rigors of college to an already full life.
“Adults starting or returning to college present a unique challenge,” she said. “How to do it all? How to balance raising a family and working? College necessarily creates a shift in priorities and they always seem to manage a way to get it done. There are short-term sacrifices but I’ve watched the students I’ve worked with make the necessary adjustments along the way and their successes are all the sweeter.”
Calvetti said the students she is counseling are looking to carve out a new career, advance in their job or seeking self-fulfillment – perhaps pursuing a promise they made to themselves years ago. She recalls a recent example of one sibling inspiring another to take action.
“Sitting in front of me were two sisters.” Calvetti said. “Last semester, I met one and this semester the other. Flipping off her cell phone, the younger of the two started. Her sister would like to come to college, but didn’t know where to start. Typically this is how it begins — one adult summons the courage to come to college and a family member, friend or co-worker follows suit.”
Leading up to the Wednesday, Aug. 16 start, IVCC is offering walk-in counseling from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (last student taken at 6:15 p.m.) on main campus. Ottawa Center will offer walk-in counseling 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The college closes at 4:30 p.m. Fridays.
Students can register for a course until it has met twice and can still apply for financial aid and a payment plan. Call 815-224-0360 for information.