Central Albertans are investing in themselves and their education in the turbulent economy.
Red Deer College’s first-year applications are up 15.6 per cent compared to this time last year.
As of Wednesday, 4,270 applications had come in from first-year students, compared to 3,693 for the 2008/2009 school year.
Jim Madder, RDC’s vice-president academic, said it’s indicative of the changing economy, with people looking to upgrade their skills to move into higher paying jobs or jobs that are more stable.
He said applications are up across the board, including university and university transfer programs, as well as one-year certificate and two-year diploma programs.
Some of the most popular programs include bachelor of science – nursing, bachelor of arts, bachelor of education and the new computer information systems diploma that starts in the fall.
Certificate and diploma programs — including career and academic preparation, open studies, unit clerk, health care aide, pharmacy technician, music, early learning, child care and social work — have also seen a higher number of applications.
“We have that range of programming. It can either be relatively short term, so people who want to invest for four months can do that, but if they want to go ahead and be here for four years they can do that as well,” he said.
Madder said generally the number of applications corresponds with the number of students who attend the college in September. He said the only time that isn’t the case is for programs that are completely filled, such as the nursing program.
Although application numbers are up by 10 to 11 per cent at colleges across the country, Madder was surprised by the dramatic increase RDC has seen.
He said the marketing program and the new brand at RDC may have increased students’ interest in the college.
“I think what it does is puts us in front of people who are thinking about other alternatives,” Madder said. “