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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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

While not every community college boasts a robust sports program, those that do provide an outlet for student athletes to come and compete while getting their post-secondary education. Unfortunately, one Midwestern school has found that despite a long and illustrious history, they can no longer support the football program that has been an integral part of campus life. Grand Rapids Community College has bid a sudden farewell to their football program this year, after enjoying an 80-year tradition and plenty of notoriety through individual athletes and numerous winning seasons.

The Announcement is Made
 
According to a report at mLive.com, the announcement to end the football program was made by the president of Grand Rapids Community College, Steven Ender. Ender also issued a formal press release, after talking with the coaches and players involved in the football program about the school’s decision. In the press release, Ender cited the following reasons for bringing Grand Rapids football tradition to an abrupt halt:

  • With games now played in Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota and Georgia, the school was no longer able to spend the time or money getting the football team and staff to games further from home.  In some cases, student athletes and coaches were spending up to 19 hours on a bus to get to a single game.
  • Many of the student athletes that came to the school to play football faced severe personal obstacles, including finding the means to pay for off-campus housing, since many came from out of state . . . read more

Community colleges provide a plethora of opportunities for traditional and non-traditional students alike. These two-year institutions offer fast, affordable higher education to high school graduates who are not ready for the university and older students looking for a new direction in their career path. One element of community college that is often overlooked is the ability for students to play sports at the junior college level. From football to women’s softball, many campuses across the country provide the chance for students to participate in the sport of their choice for fun, competition and even a possible career.

Benefits of Sports at Community College
 
The addition of a robust athletics program at community colleges offers a host of benefits to students, as well as the school. While these programs are not traditionally big money makers for the colleges, the advantages offered may make the cost of the programs worthwhile to many college campuses.
 
“It provides a full college experience,” Gary Branch, president of Faulkner State Community College, explained to the GadsenTimes. Branch is also the president of the Alabama College Athletic Conference.
 
David Mollahan agrees. The president of Marion Military Institute told the Times, “It’s beneficial to higher education. Our programs, I think, are worth it.”
 
Although some in the community college arena lament the cost of such programs, particularly at a time when budgets are getting tighter and tighter, Raymond Staats, president of Gadsen State Community College told the Times, “It’s not as costly as people think, and . . . read more

Community colleges have been touted as the economic future of this country, as hosts of high school graduates, displaced workers and others look to these institutions of higher education. The Obama Administration has put the focus on community colleges as well, seeing these schools as essential instruments in raising the college graduation across the country over the next decade. However, a new study brings up some familiar concerns regarding these two-year programs; namely, the low completion rates that seem to plague the majority of community colleges nationwide. In fact, the study puts a price tag on the cost of community college dropouts – and it is a steep number indeed.

“The Hidden Costs of Community Colleges”
 
The recent study, titled, “The Hidden Costs of Community Colleges,” was released by the American Institutes for Research. The study, which was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, looked at full-time, first-year community college students who did not return for their second year of school. Five academic years were analyzed in the study, between 2004 and 2009. The purpose of the study was not only to put a price on the high dropout rate, but also to improve outcomes and performance at institutions across the country, according to a press release published at the American Institutes for Research website.
 
According to a report at the Los Angeles Times, the study showed that about one-fifth of full-time community college students who enroll in school do not make it to their . . . 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.