Improving Learning

Get helpful tips and expert advice on boosting your GPA. This section will provide valuable tips on studying, mentor programs and how to avoid academic probation. Examine the latest trends in student motivation techniques, take a good look at online learning, and find resources to guide you on the path to success.
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While all mentoring programs help improve student performance and graduation rates, some community colleges are finding that minority mentorship programs are even more beneficial.  Colleges across the country are celebrating the outstanding results achieved through the collaborative efforts of on-campus minority mentoring programs.  As the Education Resources Services Center articulates, “Mentoring is a process that can increase the retention of minority students, with larger numbers graduated and hired for faculty positions.” 
To discover the benefits of minority mentoring opportunities, consider what some of the top performing organizations have been able to achieve with their local community college support.   
 
Examining the College Student Spectrum
 
According to the Community College Review Journal, diversity among community college student populations is constantly shifting.  In fact, recent US Census Bureau reports show that 42.3 percent of African Americans enrolled in college programs are specifically taking courses at community colleges.  50 percent of Native American college students, as well as over 55 percent of Hispanic college students, are also enrolled in classes at various community colleges. 
 
However, as the Community College Review Journal asserts, “Despite these changes, these populations of students may be confronted with many issues that are detrimental to their retention and success, such as lower levels of academic preparation in high school, lower socioeconomic status, and greater alienation in these institutions.” 
 
Due to these specific challenges, many community colleges report higher dropout rates and lower academic achievement results from minority students.  To address these issues, some college leaders believe that providing . . . read more

While many feel a sigh of relief after leaving behind their former high school classrooms, new college students must ensure they adhere to their community college's academic requirements. Although community college certainly offers greater freedoms, students must maintain acceptable academic progress in order to stay enrolled.

Academic Probation Overview
 
As Lord Fairfax Community College (LCC), located in Warrenton, Virginia, reveals, there are strict guidelines and expectations for students' academic progress and conduct. While each institution has its own regulations, LCC requires that all students maintain a GPA above a 2.0. According to LCC policies, any student who fails to earn a 2.0 GPA for even one semester will receive an immediate “Academic Warning.” Similarly, any student who fails any course will also receive such warning. This warning is designed to alert students of potential consequences if the low academic achievements continue.
 
Students enrolled in LCC who have earned 12 credit hours, and who additionally fail to meet an overall GPA of 1.5, are placed on “Academic Probation.” As a much more serious step, academic probation is permanently documented on a student's record. A student in this circumstance is required to meet with a faculty advisor for additional guidance. Furthermore, with the support of an advisor or counselor, students may be required to reduce their anticipated course load for their upcoming semester(s). Adding to the implications, students on academic probation are banned from being appointed to any elective office in student organizations. Typically, academic probation lasts only one semester, as . . . read more

Enrolling in honors courses in high school certainly offers its advantages, ranging from intellectual challenges to fast-paced learning. The perks of honors classes, however, are not restricted to high school!

Today, many community colleges are providing students with honors credit and accolades. Through the various advantages associated with honors courses, students enrolled in community college can enhance their competitiveness as they prepare for graduation and the challenging job market.

Honors Options at the Community College Level
 
While each community college offers its own programs and standards, Quinsigamond Community College is one of the exemplary schools providing diverse honors academic opportunities. Located in Worcester, Massachusetts, Quinsigamond Community College (QCC) is one of the many institutions providing students with advanced honors credit. As QCC explains, their honors program is designed to “Motivate academically talented students to develop their fullest potential... The Program seeks to awaken and nurture a sense of humane citizenry and community responsibility within its members.”

Alongside general credit courses, students eligible to enroll in honors courses are permitted to engage in these alternative learning venues to fine tune their critical thinking, writing, and speaking skills. While the objectives for standard and honors courses maintain the same focus, students enrolled in QCC honors classes typically experience more classroom involvement, alongside enhanced independent analysis.

The Benefits of Honors Courses at the Community College Level

As the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) reveals, enrolling in honors courses at the college level demonstrates a student's skills, abilities, and work ethics. Adding to this, . . . read more

Americans that have made bad financial decisions can begin the process of fixing their poor financial history by declaring bankruptcy. However, for community college students, did you know that a similar process exists for bad grades? A semester riddled with poor grades can be wiped clean with an academic bankruptcy. While an academic bankruptcy will not magically disappear from your records in seven years like a financial bankruptcy does, there are many advantages to undergoing the process. However, there are also some definite negatives to making this decision.    
 
Pros of Academic Bankruptcy
 
Although academic bankruptcy may sound like a novel term, it may help you raise your community college GPA. When you declare academic bankruptcy, you essentially erase the grades of one entire semester or quarter. If you’ve gotten good grades during your first two semesters in community college, then had one bad semester due to medical, family, or other issues, that one bad semester can completely ruin your GPA. By declaring that one semester bankrupt, the grades that you received will not be calculated as part of your overall GPA. This can be a good strategy for you to repair and boost your cumulative GPA
 
If you have lost your financial aid eligibility because of a cumulative GPA that does not meet the minimum requirements, then declaring academic bankruptcy may help you regain your financial aid more expeditiously. However, because policies vary from college to college, you should discuss this situation individually with your community college’s financial aid office before making the decision to declare a semester . . . read more

Could being social and involved on your community college campus lead to better grades? According to the Community College Survey (CCS), there is an inherent link between student involvement and academic performance. 
 
Based upon the CCS, student involvement in campus opportunities lead to better learning and academic performance. While many school leaders are devising new ways to increase student participation, community college students should be self-motivated to become more involved in the full collegiate experience.
 
Benefits of Engaging in Campus Opportunities
 
According to researcher Christopher Chaves of Community Colleges Los Angeles, the earlier a student engages in campus participation, the better the results. For example, nearly all community college students who participate in a freshman orientation program tend to hold greater retention rates, complete their degrees, and earn overall higher grades than individuals who did not participate in orientation. 
 
Furthermore, according to the investigation, four local North Carolina community colleges revealed “that involvement in a freshman orientation course improved student performance regardless of race, age, gender, major, employment status, or entrance exam scores.” 
 
Studies support that community college students utilizing campus opportunities tend to experience greater developmental benefits than those who do not participate in such venues.
 
What Else Students Can Do: How to Get Involved
 
Utilize Academic Support Centers
 
According to Chavez, students who take advantage of campus-wide learning centers tend to experience greater academic benefits and performance results. Whether you are struggling with a specific topic or simply want to be fully prepared for finals, students should take advantage of academic-based learning centers on campus. These learning . . . read more
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