Improving Learning

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As community colleges provide students of diverse backgrounds with access to courses, instruction, and training venues, schools are now implementing increased support for students whose primary and native language is not English. Students who are in the process of learning English are referred as English as a Second Language (ESL) students, and community colleges are revising their programs to extend and improve academic and campus support.
Community College ESL Courses
Many community colleges offer ESL students a variety of specialized language courses. Typically, students will take a proficiency test and will then enroll in the appropriate ESL / language course based on individual skills and abilities. As Kenneth Beare in “Setting ESL Class Objectives” explains, taking “language acquisition needs into consideration when planning a class or individual instruction is crucial for a successful learning experience […] When a student understands his/her reasons for learning English well, he can then better plan his learning strategy. In the classroom, he/she can help the teacher identify needs and desires.”
Community College ESL Resources
In addition to specialized courses, most community colleges also provide students with personalized support systems, such as tutoring offices and academic advisors. Students can take advantage of ESL resources by visiting the community college campus resource center, or by meeting with an academic advisor for further guidance and information. 
Examining Community College ESL Programs
Located in Mesa, Arizona, Mesa Community College provides ESL students with a variety of resources and programs for academic support. As MCC explains, “ESL Support Services provides informational services to prospective . . . read more

As students transition to the demands of community college courses, many individuals quickly realize that they are in need of added academic support. While instructors are able to assist during office hours, community colleges also offer resource centers, and even some college courses, to help provide students with added assistance.
Community College Academic Resource Centers
With over five campuses across the state of Iowa, Iowa Lakes Community College provides students with a resource center at each of its campus locations. At the resource centers, students can specifically seek help for academic issues; for example, “Students may request individual tutoring, help with proof reading papers, and/or assistance in developing good study skills.” As many new community college students struggle with essays, homework assignments, or even with issues of organization and memorization, the academic resources at community college campuses can be avenues of beneficial support.
Added to the resources of academic assistance, community college students can also find out information about generalized entry exams, or class placement exams. Furthermore, Iowa Lakes Community College requires “each incoming freshman be assessed.  Assessment results help guide students into appropriate academic courses.  Students are assessed using ACT, ASSET, or COMPASS in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.” To become prepared and aware of the testing information, students can utilize the campus-wide resource centers to find out sample test questions, testing dates, and testing strategies.
Located in Fremont, Ohio, Terra Community College is another institution gaining recognition for its outstanding student outreach . . . read more

According to research conducted by ACT News, the country’s largest provider of assessments for students transitioning from high school to college, strong writing skills are among the most important skills needed to promote post-secondary success. 
Based on reports from over 6,500 college and high school teachers, some of the most imperative writing skills include students’ ability to convey information in a written, organized, and logical manner, while utilizing correct grammar and sentence structure. As many community college students often struggle with the increased demands of collegiate writing requirements, many community colleges offer resources that can provide both assistance and support for increased writing improvement. 
Writing Support for Community College Students
Seeking Assistance Early On
According to research conducted by Linda Jacobson of the Community College Review, students can aim to improve their collegiate writing skills by foremost focusing on their core issues and struggles: “To improve basic skills, developmental writing students need a solid understanding of the basic structure or fundamentals of the subject. Most developmental writing students realize that they have problems in writing well but are not able to identify a specific problem area.” 
Oftentimes students may feel inhibited in their ability to write cohesively with clear organization, or may struggle to even start an essay or writing assignment. As such, the Jacobson suggests that students should meet with instructors individually at the first sign of any problems or concerns.
The Benefits of Individual Conferences
In meeting with instructors individually, students can understand what to focus on for further improvement, which can in turn . . . read more

As class sizes across the country continue to rise, many community college students are struggling to connect with instructors. To combat some of the potential issues of over-sized classes, or to even further benefit from smaller classes, students must strive to build positive working relationships with instructors. 
In building positive student-instructor relationships, students can gain more personal assistance, work through course material more effectively, and are ultimately able to perform better in the course.    
Benefits of Building Positive and Professional Relationships with Instructors
Improved Course Work
One of the primary benefits of building effective relationships with an instructor is a student’s ability to receive more specific feedback and instruction, whether you are taking pre-requisite or elective courses. Students who establish positive professional relationships with instructors can obtain more insight on how to create a specific course plan for increased progress. 
As Jacobson suggests, students should meet with instructors after large assignments or tests are returned. A “mini-conference,” or meeting with an instructor, provides both parties with an opportunity to focus on the finished final assignment, essay, or test. With this idea, Jacobson also asserts, “this approach may seem time-consuming, it rarely becomes a daunting process […] Once some of (a student’s) major […] problems have been identified and correction methods have been explained, most of the students begin to use the specific information they have received to self-monitor their (work).” 
Additionally according to Jacobson, the more students meet with instructors early in the course, the less time students will need to meet with an instructor later on . . . read more

An increasing number of high school students are going directly from high school into community colleges to begin their higher education. Many of these students still live with their parents for financial or other reasons. Many parents of these traditional students want to help their children make the transition from secondary school to college. This article discusses the instrumental role parents can play in encouraging a young student's move from high school into community college. The article contains tips for parents seeking to be supportive and suggests questions parents can ask to demonstrate their interest. Using these tips and suggestions, parents can show support for a child in community college without jeopardizing the child's new independence and responsibility as a college student.
According to the latest statistics compiled by the American Association of Community Colleges, 43 percent of community college students are age 21 or younger. Some of these are traditional students, or students who proceeded directly from high school to college. Some traditional students attend community college to avoid the rising tuition costs at public and private four-year institutions. Some students are not ready to leave home and prefer to stay with or near their parents for the first two years of college. Unlike older students, traditional students may not have the maturity and savvy which are required to make their way in a new environment.
Parents as "First Responders" When Community College Students Need Help
There is a well-founded concern about the low retention rate at community colleges. Students are . . . read more
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