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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Institutions of higher education are just that – places where students can continue to learn, grow and develop professionally and personally. Community colleges are particularly adept at this task, offering a wide range of learning opportunities for students of all ages and walks of life. From young students still years from their college years to senior citizens who never want to stop discovering new things, these campuses offer a wealth of learning opportunities. Check out these 10 ways you can make the most of the programs found at your local community college.

Get Ahead in High School
 
Running Start is a program available through many of the community colleges in the state of Washington. According to the Tacoma Community College website, this program allows high school juniors and seniors to get a head start on college credits by taking college-level courses while they are still in high school. The program offers a wide range of benefits, including the ability to save on college tuition and choose from a broader course selection. Other states offer similar programs to aspiring college students.
 
It is important to note that these dual-credit programs are not without their share of requirements as well. Students are typically expected to maintain a high GPA in their high school courses to even qualify for the program. In addition, they will be required to achieve a prescribed GPA in their college coursework as well. College classes may also be offered on weekends and during school holidays, . . . read more

California community colleges have been struggling in recent years, facing dwindling budgets and increasing scrutiny from college regulatory agencies. Governor Jerry Brown has now taken the community college problem into his own hands, signing legislation that will lead to significant changes in these institutions of higher education. With concern for the low completion rates the California community college system now faces, Governor Brown focused specifically on laws that would increase the odds of student success at community colleges throughout the state.

The Student Success Act of 2012
 
One of the key pieces of legislation Governor Brown recently signed into law was the Student Success Act of 2012 or SB1456. The Press-Telegram reports that this bill focused directly on the state’s community college system, in an effort to improve completion rates and student success at these institutions. The Student Success Act of 2012 includes a number of specific measures community colleges will now have to utilize to help their students succeed in college. Some of the measures include:

  • Development of a student education plan to help students plan course schedules accordingly
  • Requirement that all incoming students attend an orientation session before taking courses
  • Minimum standards for academic success in order to receive fee waivers
  • Creation of a student success report card that will be used to determine future funding
  • Addition of an all new assessment test that will help place students in the proper classes

The bill also contains a provision that ensures new students entering a community college will be able . . . read more

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
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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.