Avoid the 3 Major Pitfalls of the First Year of Community College

Avoid the 3 Major Pitfalls of the First Year of Community College
Learn about how you can avoid the commonly experienced pitfalls students encounter in the first few weeks of community college, and ensure that you do not slip through the cracks.
According to a recent USA Today’s report, “Students Less Engaged at Community College,” many community college students begin to slip through the cracks of student involvement and academia in just the first few weeks of a new semester! 
 
In your first year of community college, make sure you avoid the three major pitfalls that could impact your academic and professional career. 
 
Pitfall #1: Not Meeting with Advisors
 
Experts assert that students need to be engaged from the beginning of their academic career. Too many students forgo meetings with advisors, who are an excellent resource for planning both your academic and professional career. Take advantage of advisors from your first quarter in community college, and you will find your academic career will be much easier to manage. 
 
Some community colleges have started mandating that all students engage in advising sessions, which ensure that students are being personally informed of the various opportunities on campus. 
 
Pitfall #2: Not Interacting with Instructors
 
In specifically examining the potential positive outcomes of increased faculty and student interaction, USA Today argues thatalthough faculty involvement is imperative for enhanced student success, only 15 percent of students reportedly discuss grades, issues, questions, or assignments with teachers outside of class. In fact, only a little over half of all community college students surveyed have ever met with an instructor for assistance outside of class!
 
Meeting with your instructor is not only beneficial for your learning and grades, but also for your future professional endeavors. If you are planning to transfer to a four-year institution, your community college instructors will write the critical recommendation letters. Even for your first job after community college, your instructors can be excellent professional references.   
 
Many community college instructors have started enforcing mandatory office-hour visits, and students must actively seek out meeting times to take part in essential classroom participation efforts. 
 
Pitfall #3: Not Participating in Campus Activities
 
In a Nova University report published by the Education Resources Information Center, there is an inherent link between social activities and student performance. For example, students who participate in community college student government events and opportunities reportedly experienced greater connections with the campus. This connectivity results in greater involvement both socially and academically. 
 
There are a myriad of activities on campus that are not only socially enjoyable, but also excellent for your future resume and career. Through student organizations, you can take on leadership roles, whether in public relations or accounting, and this experience can translate well on your resume. 
 
The Benefits of Community College Participation
 
Community college students are provided with diverse activities and opportunities to become increasingly involved on campus. While engaging in campus activities may seem like an un-necessary effort in the collegiate pathway, being involved can help you feel greater school pride, enjoy more social and academic networks, and also boost your resume and overall college experience. 
 
For example, highlighting the significance of student participation in organizations, Nash Community College, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, is one of the many community colleges that strive to create programs that allow students from all social backgrounds to find access to venues for participation. 
 
As Nash explains, student organizations play a significant role in both student development and campus atmosphere. Students engaging in organizations tend to be more involved with their campus community, while students are also able to connect with peers, leaders, and organizations beyond the campus borders as well, as many of the Nash programs are affiliated with regional, state, and national organizations. By taking advantage of Nash’s student organizations, along with the thousands of other community college programs, students are able to enhance their overall academic, social, and developmental experience.
 
The Challenges of Community College Engagement
 
However, according to USA Today, community colleges face two specific blocking forces in their efforts to engage all students in campus activities and programs. Specifically, unlike universities, over 2/3 of community college students are reportedly juggling full or part time jobs while attending college classes. Adding to this struggle, about 2/3 of the community college faculty of teachers are typically part-time instructors who are not on campus full-time and/or are not on campus for convenient student meetings. 
 
However, by participating in campus activities, meeting with advisors, and engaging with your instructors, you can maximize your collegiate experience – while also helping your resume and future career.

Additional Resources [+]
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