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COTR starts new school year today

Students locally and abroad are gearing up to flood the hallways and classrooms at the College of the Rockies as the new fall semester begins this week.

Orientation starts on Tuesday, as over 2,000 students new and returning students—domestic and international—head to the Cranbrook campus to get a locker, ID cards and textbooks.

Enrolment numbers are in line with years past, according to Marilyn Petersen, acting vice-president of education.

"Overall, enrolments look virtually unchanged from last year, which is good news, because we met 100 per cent of profile last year, so basically, there are strong enrolment trends for the programs," said Petersen.

"Some are up, some are down a little bit, but overall, it looks like we're moving ahead in a similar fashion to previous years."

Most of those students are domestic, however, there is a strong international contingent of 130 new students, with 65 returnees.

"I think the news is getting out internationally that we are number one in the world for the international student experience, so that seems to be helping our recruitment efforts in that area," said Petersen.

In terms of popularity, it’s no surprise that enrolment programs in the health-care industry are through the roof.

“As always, health programs — nursing, certified dental assisting — those programs are hot. Even kinesiology is doing pretty well this year, so the health programs continue to be a strong area for us,” Petersen said.

“…I should mention that our nursing program typically has a one-year wait list and our dental program is always full, so those continue to be the hot programs in health.”

Besides the health programs, the trades, such as electrical and heavy duty mechanics, are also popular, while the firefighting program up in Kimberley has one opening left.

Another area of increased enrolment involves courses and programs with child, youth and family studies.

“I think that’s due in part to the flexible delivery model that we have in that area, so that includes programs such as early childhood education, educational assistant and human service worker programs — that all falls under Child, Youth and Family studies. Our numbers are very. very strong in those areas,” said Petersen.

“I think we’ve had significant increases in enrolment due to the fact that a lot of those courses are delivered through a distance model or hybrid model that’s part face-to-face and online, so we get a lot of interest outside the region as well.”

Of course, with endless opportunities for outdoor recreation in the East Kootenay, the tourism programs are also popular.

“Our tourism programs — our adventure tourism business operations program up in Golden and the MAST (Mountain Adventure Skills Training) programs in Fernie are doing very well,” said Petersen.

The nursing and education degree programs are possible through a partnership with the University of Victoria, but Petersen said the College is proud of how their homegrown Bachelor of Business Administration in Sustainable Business Practices is growing.

“Every year it seems we double our enrolment in that area, so we’re continuing to see strong numbers in our own college degree,” she said.

One area that does have some openings remaining is the professional cook training program. Petersen said the program will go on hold for two weeks to try and fill the remaining spots, and bursaries are available to help with tuition.

Many programs and courses are still accepting applications up to Sept. 17.

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