The bulk of Algonquin’s student intake is in the fall, with roughly 10,000 enrollments. Michael Amodeo, a first-year police foundations student, is not one of them.
Student enrollment, overall, has increased this year compared to last. According to Jeff Macnab, Algonquin’s registrar, this year’s student enrollment is up 1.8 per cent, including the fall, winter and spring terms.
Certain programs are in very high demand, like practical nursing and paralegal, which already have a waitlist for fall 2015.
But the school has taken in many students just this past January. Algonquin’s police foundations program is one of over 100 that the college offers to start in the winter term. In the fall, the program has room for six sections holding about 48 students in each. But in the winter it only has two.
Lindsay Harris, police foundations program coordinator, has watched how students have changed over his 25 years of working for the college.
“Students coming in January are often viewed to be not as academically strong as students coming in September,” Harris said. “That sort of was the case when we started but we’ve found in about the last two years that it has not been the case.”
Amodeo started the police foundations program this winter term. He took a couple years after high school to work and save money to be able to pay for school. He said that he doesn’t really see any strong advantages or disadvantages to starting school in the winter instead of the fall but he likes that there aren’t as many people in his section.
“You’re not so much a number and more of a name,” he said. “You make better impressions in smaller class sections.”
Students may choose to start school in the winter or spring terms instead of the fall for many different reasons. They had to finish credits from high school, for example, or they took a year or a few off to work and save money, they transferred from another program within the school or many more. It all depends on what suits the student during that point in their life.