Student Issues / Attending College

Academics, extracurricular activities, housing and more: be savvy about all facets of attending community college. Get tips on making the dean’s list, find ways to benefit from community college outside the classroom, and analyze the latest data on graduation and employment rates.
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College students learn plenty in the years they spend on campus. But do the lessons learned at school prepare them for a professional life after their studies?  Maybe not, according to at least one community college, which has plans to give their students a healthy dose of work readiness skills at the same time they are earning their degree.

Workplace Readiness Certificates
 
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College has provided students with many of the skills necessary to land jobs in the local workforce. Next year, the school will add a new type of certification to their repertoire – a workplace readiness certificates. Students will earn this certificate by demonstrating “soft skills” that employers tend to look for as well, such as punctuality, teamwork and time management. According to Inside Higher Ed, those skills will also begin to play a role in the grades students earn in some of their classes at the college.
 
The North Carolina school is leaving nothing to chance as it prepares faculty to evaluate students for the skills employers are looking for. The school has designed a template to assist professors in assessing primary workplace skills, including:

  • Communication – use of oral and written skills to clearly communicate thoughts and ideas
  • Effort – demonstration of strong work ethic and preparedness for assignments
  • Quality of Work – applicable to classroom work and academic performance
  • Attendance – ability to manage oneself
  • Time Management – punctuality, preparedness, handing in assignments on time
  • Professionalism – image put forth by student in terms of actions, appearance and attitude Professors . . . read more

Getting kids to college is only a part of the equation when it comes to higher education. Whether a student enrolls in community college or a four-year school, the goal is to get that student to leave the institution with a degree firmly in hand. Unfortunately, that event does not occur nearly as often as educators would like. As the quest to improve college completion rates kicks into high gear, a task force in Ohio has some recommendations for schools looking to get more of their students on the path to graduation.

About the Complete College Ohio Task Force
 
College completion rates in the state of Ohio are some of the lowest in the country, with Ohio ranking 38th on the spectrum of graduating college students, according to the Ohio Higher Ed website. To determine why completion rates are so low – and what can be done to improve them – the Ohio Board of Regents partnered with the university system in the state, which includes community colleges and adult education centers as well as four-year institutions.
 
The newly formed Complete College Ohio Task Force was given the responsibility of studying the reasons behind the dismal graduation rates. The committee then put forth a list of recommendations to improve those rates. While the recommendations were specifically for Ohio colleges, the recommendations are equally relevant for other colleges across the country.
 
When the task force began their work, the Ohio Higher Ed website reports that the group was divided into three subsets: . . . read more

Thinking about community college? Consider this – there are numerous ways to benefit from a community college education outside the classroom environment. With a wealth of extracurricular activities to choose from today, you’ll never be at a loss for how to fill your time. Check out these valuable ways to benefit from your local community college outside the classroom.

Log Some Service Hours
 
Many community colleges offer students the opportunity to flex their volunteer muscles through a variety of community service projects. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, volunteer work offers a myriad of benefits to students, including the ability to engage in the civic community and learn new skills they can take with them after graduation. This organization now promotes service learning to more than 1,200 schools nationwide. Service options might include work with specific organizations in the area or individual projects organized by the community college and based on the specific needs of the local neighborhood.
 
Take in a Concert
 
Community colleges with robust music departments might feature a wealth of musical offerings from their students throughout the year. Choose from a variety of genres, including jazz and classical, as well as both vocal and instrumental music performances. In addition, many community colleges host visiting musical artists throughout the year, giving students in and out of their music programs the chance to dabble in different musical styles.
 
Exercise Your Competitive Spirit
 
The National Junior College Athletic Association features a huge assortment of sports opportunities for both men . . . read more

The arrival of a global economy has increased the need for higher education that is more globally focused today. A new study suggests that community colleges are answering that call, providing students with education and experiences that have a much longer reach than ever before. Many individual schools are also answering the need for global education directly, with the introduction of programs that help students expand their horizons – and their world – from their own local community college campus. With plenty of options to choose from today, community college students can rest assured the education they receive will prepare them for a future in a world that has become larger and smaller at the same time.

Study Indicates International Business a Focal Point at Community Colleges
 
The recent study was conducted by researchers at Michigan State University. According to the MSU website, the study found that in 2008, only about 51 percent of community colleges in the country were offering basic courses in international business. In just four years, that number has skyrocketed to 85 percent. With a significant number of college students in the United States attending community college today, those findings show the country is on the right track to cultivating a more globally-minded workforce in the future.
 
“The most important takeaway is that we as a nation appear to be putting funds into community college education to infuse a global mindset in a much larger way than in the past few years,” Tomas Hult, director of . . . read more

Historically, a four-year degree was the recommendation for those who wanted to find gainful employment directly after graduation. However, that tide appears to be changing, as more employers are looking to community colleges to provide the qualified workforce they require. With less time to earn a degree and less debt once the college experience is over, many students have been turning to community college as a means of gaining a higher education that leads to a lucrative career. Now, statistics from the Labor Department appear to support that choice, showing that jobs after graduation from community college also appear to be on the rise.
 
What the Numbers Show
 
According to USA Today, the latest numbers from the Labor Department show a rise in employment for those with an associate degree – up 578,000 over the past six months. This brings the grand total of employed Americans with an associate degree to around 35.2 million. During the same time period, employment growth for those with a bachelor degree increased 314,000, bringing the grand total of employed Americans with a four-year degree to 46.5 million. Although more four-year graduates are still found in the workforce, the significant increase in workers with an associate degree suggests a distinct trend toward a two-year degree to increase competitiveness in today’s workforce.
 
These numbers are particularly interesting in light of the recent recession, which saw employment for those with a high school diploma plummet, while workers with a minimum of a four-year degree remained . . . read more
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Student Issues / Attending College

Extracurricular Activities

Community college can be fun and socially enriching, especially with the right extracurricular activities. Reasons to join the debate club, volunteer opportunities and wellness programs are just a few topics covered here. Explore the benefits of community college outside of the classroom, from holiday celebrations to athletic programs, schools are finding ways to keep students engaged on campus.

Graduation

Graduation rates, policies, and caps - oh my! This section covers all topics related to community college graduations. How does state spending impact graduation rates? Who are the oldest community college graduates? What initiatives are in place to stem the rate of dropouts? Find the answers to these questions and more.

Community College Housing

The number of community colleges offering on-campus housing is on the rise. Learn more about campus living options, compare the pros and cons of dorm life, and get help deciding what housing is best for you.

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.

Improving Your Job Search

Whether you have just enrolled in community college or you’re ready to graduate and enter the job market, our articles can help improve your opportunities of landing the perfect job. Internships and apprenticeships offer lots of benefits, find out how participation in these programs can move your resume to the top of the pile. Analyze employment data for community college graduates and determine who is getting hired. Get valuable tips on polishing your candidacy and making the most of job fairs.

Class Schedules

- Do you need child care? Are you employed full-time? Community colleges offer a variety of scheduling options, allowing most students to easily integrate continued education into an already busy schedule. From weekend classes to courses at midnight, we cover the gamut of flexible class schedules at community college.