Photo: David McGregor<br>Whitney LeQuire listens during a new student orientation at Georgia Gwinnett College Saturday morning.
LAWRENCEVILLE -- Mary Beth Rumble's first class at Georgia Gwinnett College -- introduction to technology -- will begin at 8 a.m. Monday.
The Lawrenceville resident is one of about 600 students enrolled for the first time at GGC, the highest number of mid-year, new enrollees the college has seen since its inception, an increase that is atypical.
"It's unusual to grow from fall to spring," said Stas Preczewski, vice president of academic and student affairs. "Normally you lose students."
As a result of its accreditation this past June and the addition of eight new majors, combined with GGC's already high retention rates at about 80 percent, the four-year college is seeing what Preczewski said are unbelievable numbers. First-time enrollees for the spring semester bring the total number of students to 3,370.
"We're excited about the growth," said GGC President Dan Kaufman. "We're excited about now fulfilling the vision that the Board of Regents had for us."
The college hired 25 to 30 new faculty members, both full and part time, to meet the increase in students.
As far as being part of the growth at GGC, "it's interesting," Rumble said after completing registration Saturday. "I think we're probably all going to bond over this because there are hardly any classes left, so I don't think they had any idea what to expect with the growth of this school."
GGC anticipates its student population will increase by about 2,000 this fall, bringing the total number of students between 5,000 and 5,500.
"We're getting from our own market studies that word of mouth about the small class sizes and caring faculty are what are bringing them to us," Preczewski said. "It's a lot of word of mouth, but accreditation was really important (too)."
"The message is apply early," Kaufman said. "Space will be tight."