By RUTH BEHR
The start of the Fall 2023 semester has brought 17,899 students to Pima Community College to pursue their passions through higher education, according to Pima’s Executive Director of Community and Government Relations, Libby Howell. Pima’s diverse student body contains a wide variety of experiences and interests, but one thing they share is their decision to attend Pima this Fall.
Many students prefer Pima over other options for its affordability, though it’s not the only advantage Pima offers – many students prefer its limited class and campus sizes. “Classes here are much smaller compared to university ones, so there’s more chances for one-on-one with professors,” stated Martín, a first year student. “I think that’s very beneficial.”
Another West campus student, Emma, says Pima is an ideal stepping stone to the university level. “I’m majoring in social services, but when I first got here, I wasn’t set on a program, so starting at a university wasn’t smart. I like Pima because it’s more affordable, accessible, flexible, and it’s a lot less intimidating. This is my third semester here, first one full-time, so I can get further along to achieving a bachelor’s degree in social work.”
According to Pima’s Strategy, Analytics and Research Office, social sciences, humanities and education are some of Pima’s most popular programs. Howell says 4,761 students are currently enrolled in them this semester. That’s closely followed by health and medical programs; one student, Megan, is already an experienced medical professional, but is still looking to advance her knowledge. “Pima’s nursing program has a really good reputation; it includes a preceptorship where you get to work with registered nurses. I’ve been working in the medical field for 15 years, but I love being able to work directly with patients, and I really want to start in psychiatry, so I’m here to train in that.”
Transitioning from high school to college level classes can be overwhelming, so some students have offered advice for newcomers, urging students to take their time, explore as much as possible, and look at all the options. Mauricio, a long time student whose goal is to become an animator and character illustrator, encourages students to reach out. “Don’t be afraid to talk to counselors, advisors, and professors if you need to. If you’re dealing with stress, they can help.”