As the college approaches its 25th anniversary I am reminded that 26 years ago the vast majority of high school graduates had few options but to attend the Community College of Micronesia. The college did not need to recruit.

Image courtesey of University of Hawaii Trust Territory Photo Archives,

Today the number of citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia living abroad rivals the size of the home islands population. Every student has a relative abroad and a potential opportunity to choose other schools. Today the college faces real competition.

When my son visited colleges stateside, he was catered to and actively recruited. Each college sought to convince him that their school was the place for him to achieve his academic dreams.

When a group of high school seniors were on campus today, they were taken on a walk from one end of the campus to the other. No one reached out to them to tell them why they should choose the college. Just a walking tour of the campus.

I grabbed a single group and showed them the prep room - something that seems to fascinate students. Just a little effort to try to make them feel a little more special. And they are special. They are my future customers. I want them to choose the school I work at. And I know I am competing against ferocious competition. Schools that sit near shopping malls, have exciting athletics programs, awesome programs of study. And a chance to explore the world beyond the reef. I have to convince a young person that staying in the home islands is a desireable option. We have excellent programs, courses that transfer, a faculty who gets to know your name, and perhaps no mall with a  Starbucks, but with the opening of Deja Brew we only lack a mall. And there are shopping options well beyond those of 26 years ago.

The college and the alumni have a great story to tell,  a better job of telling that story to the high school students who visit us would serve the college well.


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