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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The Olympics are an arena for athletes from around the globe to come together in competition. U.S. athletes come from all walks of life, with many hailing from high schools and universities nationwide.  A number of those on Olympic teams also boast community college affiliation, whether they compete for the U.S. or their home country. Many of these athletes have shattered records at their schools before heading to the international arena to compete in their sports. Check out these Olympic athletes competing in London in 2012 with ties to local community colleges in the U.S.

Santa Monica Swimmer to Compete for Tunisia
 
At Santa Monica College, Ahmed Mathlouthi has spent his freshman year shattering a number of swimming records set by previous California community college athletes. At the age of 22, this talented athlete has won over swim fans and coaches alike, as he won three individual events – and broke current records in the process – at the California Community College Athletic Association’s championship meet this past April. According to the Santa Monica Patch, Mathlouthi broke records in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. The swimmer also won all three events in that competition.
 
“His combined efforts at state will go down as one of the greatest single performances of any sport ever in California Community College athletic history,” a press report was quoted as saying by the Santa Monica Patch. “He finished as an All-American in seven different events (three relays) and was the nation’s . . . read more

The term “dropout factories” was originally created to label high schools in the U.S. with dismally low graduation rates. However, the phrase has now moved into the community college sphere, as statistics indicate some community colleges are not living up to the task of helping students see their degree programs through to completion. The good news is that in the midst of the dropout factories, there are plenty of schools improving students’ odds for success through effective programs and services. It is up to students to weed through the data to choose the college that offers the best odds of success.

The Definition of a “Dropout Factory”
 
There is no single definition of a dropout factory when referring to community colleges – it depends in part on individual perceptions of what constitutes a low completion rate. A report at CNN Money defines dropout factories as schools with a completion rate of 25 percent or less, a number established by College Measures president Mark Schneider. The completion rate refers to the number of freshmen who enter the school full-time and earn a degree within three years.
 
Another source, the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University, defines dropout factories at both the high school and community college level as those with graduation rates of 60 percent or less. According to Arizona’s State Brief blog, every single community college in Arizona would be classified as a dropout factory by this standard. However, two of the state’s . . . read more

Few would argue that community college completion rates in this country are currently in the dismal range, but not all would agree on how to bring those rates up to par. One somewhat controversial initiative is striving to increase college graduation rates by placing focus in a whole new area – the rate of unplanned pregnancies among community college students. To that end, the American Association of Community Colleges has launched a national campaign to reduce unplanned pregnancy in hopes of increasing the number of students who finish a community college program.

“Make it Personal” Gathers Support
 
The new “Make it Personal: College Completion” campaign was initiated by the American Association of Community Colleges with financial support from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. According to USA Today, the campaign material makes its point through “edgy material” designed to speak directly to today’s community college student. The goal of the program is to encourage community college students to “make smart decisions about sex and relationships.” This particular project is geared toward young adults and strives to be non-political by avoiding controversial subjects like abortion.
 
According to a report at Inside Higher Ed, the campaign originally launched in 2010 and includes a twofold approach to educate college students about pregnancy planning. The first approach assists colleges with the incorporation of pregnancy planning into regular college curriculum, through classes like biology, business management and communication. To date, five colleges have received grants of as much as $20,000 . . . read more

President Obama highlighted the important role community colleges play in today’s workforce in his recent State of the Union address, but to achieve the lofty goals set by the President, colleges need tools in place to ensure students entering their doors can succeed. A recent report from the Center for Community College Student Engagement discovered that most schools know what is needed, but not all have successfully implemented those tools on a broad enough scale to help the majority of their students. Check out what community colleges nationwide are striving to offer their students now, and what they can add to give their students even better odds of success.

A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success
 
The CCCSE report, titled, “A Matter of Degrees: Promising Practices for Community College Student Success,” consolidates four different surveys into a single, comprehensive report. According to a report at the University of Texas website, the report includes data from the Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), and the Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE). The report also included preliminary findings from the Community College Institutional Survey (CCIS).
 
The report compiled information from 75,000 entering students and 440,000 experienced students throughout 2011. Approximately 35,000 faculty members also provided data for the report, and information was collected from a total of 228 community colleges. The data was compiled and analyzed by CCCSE, where it was consolidated into the single “Matter of Degrees” . . . read more

Community colleges have traditionally been a means for the budget-conscious to pursue a higher education and a well-paying job after graduation. However, if the student does not end up finishing his degree or certificate program, he gains little more than excessive debt - and no credentials to get the job he needs to pay off his school loans. In the state of Illinois, the number of community college students who find themselves in this position is alarmingly high – so much so that the lieutenant governor of the state, Sheila Simon, wants to write new legislation to significantly improve community college graduation rates over the next decade.

Focus on the Finish
 
The new report released by Simon’s office, titled, “Focus on the Finish,” provides statistics on current graduation rates at Illinois community colleges, as well as recommendations to improve those numbers. Nearly one million students enroll in Illinois community colleges every year. According to Lt. Governor Simon’s website, the report shows that four out five recent high school graduates in Illinois who attend community college do not earn their degree or certificate within three years.   
 
“We’re doing a good job of getting all types of students into the doors of community colleges,” Simon stated on her website. “But now we need to do a better job of moving them across the stage at graduation with a certificate or degree that leads to a good-paying job here in Illinois.”
 
Simon explains that there are currently 142,000 jobs . . . read more
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Recent Articles
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Community Colleges Prep for the Future by Focusing on STEM
As careers in science, technology, engineering, and math become more prevalent, community colleges are shifting their focus to meet demand and secure their place in a rapidly changing educational landscape.
Community Colleges: Bigger Buck Bang than For-Profits
A recent study reveals that job applicants with a credential or associate’s degree from a community college have slightly better chances of getting a job interview than students who attend a for-profit college or university. Since community colleges are much more budget friendly than for-profit institutions and have much better job placement results, community colleges are a much better option for employment-minded students.
Freshman Year in College Looks More and More Like High School
Nearly 52 percent of community college students in the United States begin their freshman year in at least one remedial class. These courses, which help students acquire knowledge and skills they should have acquired in high school, do not count toward their degree requirements. As a result, students are taking longer than ever to obtain their degree, if they obtain one at all.
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.