Canadore College is happy with its fall enrolment during its first semester of the pandemic.

The college states that 2,196 students are registered between its campuses in North Bay and Parry Sound, which is only 161 less than projected before the pandemic.

Shawn Chorney, Canadore’s Vice President of Enrolment Management, Indigenous and Student Services says that the college had a projection of fall enrolment done before the pandemic began.

“When everything started to shut down in March, we were really concerned about student mobility, about the confidence in families and the abilities of families to pursue educational dreams and aspirations so we are pleased where we’re landing,” Chorney said.

Chorney says that the credit for the “manageable” impact on enrolment goes to the work of college staff in adjusting operations for the pandemic.

“I think there are supports in place that have made people realize that they can still access post-secondary and they can still pursue their goals in a little bit of a different way,” he noted.

One area which has seen an impact is in international enrolment, with the North Bay campus seeing a 30 percent decrease in enrolment. The college attributes the drop to Canada’s travel restrictions which have been in place since March. Chorney says the drop is actually on par with what was anticipated prior to the pandemic.

This all comes in a year where staff and students have had to alter education because of COVID-19. The college has its students in either exclusively virtual or hybrid programs depending on how much practical training is needed.

Chorney says that “most” students have expressed positive sentiments about the new style of education, but recognizes that it comes with some hurdles.

“Most of our students have articulated that they’re grateful, they’re staying engaged with us and continuing with their studies. There are some that are struggling not unlike some people in the workforce right now. Working on a computer and your human connection largely through a piece of technology can be a real struggle for some,” he explained.

In attempting to plan for future years during a time where the future is uncertain, Chorney says that the college has had to adapt what it offers to students.

“We’ve focused on multi-year diplomas and advanced diploma options for enrolment so we have students with us for a longer period of time which will help with that student turnover and some of the natural cycles that we have,” he said.

George Burton, President of Canadore, echoes Chorney’s sentiments on the work that his staff has done.

“Our employees have put in a tremendous effort to make sure our business of teaching and learning continues,” he said.