The SUNY Plattsburgh website announced the launch of the dual admissions program in collaboration with Clinton Community College Oct. 27. The agreement represents a partnership between the two institutions that hopes to provide better educational opportunities for students of Clinton County.
Starting in the upcoming spring semester, the program would allow students applying to Clinton Community College to indicate interest in progressing to SUNY Plattsburgh upon completion of their associate’s degree. The colleges plan to configure their data management systems to safely transfer student information between the two institutions, effectively bypassing barriers such as applications, transcripts and fees.
Rehnuma Wahab, vice president of student enrollment and success, said: “Because Plattsburgh is inclusive, and we want to get better and better at inclusion. These barriers are legacy barriers that really work against minoritized and marginalized students — students who are traditionally not given that much access, from the very beginning, from high school, to a four-year degree.”
Throughout the duration of their studies at Clinton Community College, students will be paired with advisers and transfer counselors from both institutions to monitor their progress and prepare them for a seamless transition to SUNY Plattsburgh.
By introducing the dual admissions program, both of the institutions aim to boost enrollment and graduation rates, as well as retain students, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic brought those numbers down. Studies show that every additional step in the process makes students at two-year colleges less likely to transfer to a four-year college. Students at local high schools are expected to be more inclined to enroll at Clinton Community College if there is a guaranteed pathway to a four-year degree, and subsequently decide to enroll at SUNY Plattsburgh due to the convenience the program provides.
“We are making it so easy for the students to come through this process,” Head of Admissions Carrie Woodward said. “If other four-year schools haven’t gone the extra mile to make it as easy to transfer to their institutions, then I think it just opens the doors to SUNY Plattsburgh. We are just breaking down even more barriers to make that as seamless as we possibly can.”
Woodward expects that in two years, PSU would see a number of new students who had graduated from Clinton Community College — including more adults that sought to return to school or change their profession, which would benefit the local community.
Dr. John Kowal, head of admissions at Clinton Community College, hopes the partnership will add to the value that both SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College bring to the area by providing better opportunities for education, sports, recreation and cultural events.
He also values the connections and expertise the two colleges can offer local businesses and the government.
“It’s kind of a synergistic type of effect, where we each are doing our best but together, we can achieve that much more as partners,” Kowal said.
Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh each have program-specific pathway partnerships, including transfer paths, with other institutions in the SUNY system, such as SUNY Adirondack, SUNY Empire State College and SUNY Potsdam, but none as close, seamless and collaborative as this dual admissions program.
“One day they’re a Cougar — the next, they’re a Cardinal,” Kowal said.
Both Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh are looking forward to expanding the scope of their cooperation with each other and other colleges within the SUNY system.
Kowal said, “I think of it as a real, real strong partnership that has a lot of opportunity, and I look forward to working closely with the administration and leadership at SUNY Plattsburgh to see how we can continue to expand those opportunities for partnership and collaboration.”