CLEVELAND, Tenn. - About 1,000 people, including students and their families, came to Cleveland State Community College on Saturday for the third annual "freshman frenzy.''
About half the crowd were students, said Dr. Carl Hite, college president, but it is still too early to say just how many students will be registered when classes begin Monday.
"It is still fluctuating,'' Hite said. "We seem to have an increase in new students but [are] slightly down in returning students. If that's the case, it could be because we graduated our largest class ever last year.''
And that trend of slightly fewer returning students seems to be repeating at other community colleges in the area, Hite said.
"We will all be looking at that, too. Maybe the job market has come back,'' he said.
The crowd milled among information booths for various campus organizations, lined up in the campus bookstore and went to the classrooms on their schedule to meet the teachers. On the campus quadrangle were games, food and music.
Anthony Burns and son Matthew were among those waiting in the bookstore lines.
Matthew served in the U.S. Army and is an Army reservist now.
"Starting here is a way to maximize the Post 9/11 GI Bill,'' Matthew said. He will be working toward a criminal justice degree.
Other students, when asked, agreed that starting with a community college makes economic sense.
So did Kim Roberts, of Tellico Plains, who was waiting for her daughter to finish an orientation session.
"She did the research and picked here,'' Roberts said of her daughter.