When examining an institution's graduation rate, it is important to consider the institution's educational mission and how that mission serves students' educational goals. At Columbia College Chicago, students are admitted unreservedly at the undergraduate level. This admissions policy is a cornerstone of Columbia's success, as we believe that the arts flourish and grow best when a variety of voices and talents participate in and contribute to the creative disciplines in which we specialize. Within our nurturing environment, students with developed talents and highly focused goals, as well as students at the beginning levels of development in their intended majors, find educational challenges that push them each to develop their individual voice, vision, and talent. Preparing for careers in the arts, media and communications fields requires rigorous commitment, hard work and concentrated focus on creative endeavors and scholarly pursuits.
An important element of Columbia's hands-on educational philosophy is to allow students access to course work in their intended major during the freshman year. We believe that early immersion is the best way to acquire the necessary skill, vision, and individual point of view to prepare students for entry into the job markets of these competitive fields. For some students, early immersion provides the necessary information to decide that study in the arts and media is not an appropriate choice. We prefer that students come to this conclusion early in their college careers, before they have over-invested time, money, and effort.
Columbia is a school with a specialized curriculum focus; that is, we offer highly developed programs in the arts, media, and communications disciplines. Because of this, students who decide that the arts are not an appropriate choice for them cannot study other disciplines without leaving Columbia to pursue those options. Most schools that have a narrow curricular focus have graduation rates that are below the national average for this reason.
The College offers a variety of counseling and support services to help students achieve their academic goals. An award winning freshman support program helps to ensure that students make a successful transition to college and that their first year is rewarding. The myriad programs and services supporting new students include: an extended orientation process, freshman advisors, mentoring, developmental course work and tutors in reading, writing, and math, and college-wide and departmentally specific programs and events designed specifically for new students. Columbia is committed to access and opportunity and provides each new student with a rigorous and supportive educational environment that fosters student
In the above tables, Entering Cohort refers to the number of students enrolled in each year. Referring to the percentages, the GYear4, for example, shows that 55% of the 1,113 transfer students enrolled in 2003 have graduated.