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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Last year, President Obama announced his ambitious plan to graduate five million more students from community colleges by the year 2020. The President believes this goal is necessary to ensure the United States can continue to be leaders in a global economy, according to a report at WhiteHouse.gov. However, boosting graduation rates at community colleges across the country may be easier said than done. To facilitate the process, California has developed a list of recommendations to increase graduation rates in that state, which could serve as a model for other states as well.
 
Room for Improvement
 
According to a report on Southern California Public Radio, there is plenty of room for improvement in California community colleges today. A study conducted by California State University, Sacramento, found that seven of every 10 students do not complete a two-year degree or transfer to a four-year institution. Long Beach City College President Eloy Ortiz Oakley told the radio station, "We need to rapidly improve the education of our workforce, and community colleges are the gateway to the majority of that workforce in California."
 
Finding Solutions

To help achieve that end, the Community College League of California has issued recommendations for community colleges to follow. The report, titled, "Commission on the Future's 2020 Vision for Student Success," outlines 17 recommendations designed to increase student graduation rates across the board. League president Scott Lay told KPBS that the purpose of the report is to make community colleges more structured   "Having . . . read more

Throughout his administration, President Obama has shined a major spotlight on America’s college graduation rates, and community colleges are feeling the pressure. According to the Hechinger Report, fewer than one out of five students at community colleges obtain their desired degree in three years or less. A recent study published by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) paints a similarly grim picture by indicating that high college dropout rates cost both state and federal governments billions of dollars each year. However, do these numbers really paint an accurate picture of what is happening in community colleges and four-year institutions across the country? This article will explore the many reasons for high dropout rates, including flaws in the manner in which such data is collected.
 
What the Numbers Show
 


As shown in the graph above, data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that only 13 percent of community college students graduate in two years. Within three years, approximately 22 percent of students graduate, and within four years, the rate stands at 28 percent. Further data from AIR shows that only about 60% of college students graduate from four-year colleges and universities within six years. AIR vice president Mark Schneider claims that more than $9 billion is spent on these students each year by state and federal governments, yet all that funding fails to produce a college graduate that could bring those years of education to the country's workforce. While the AIR numbers are specifically related to . . . read more

Recent statistics have shown that it takes much more than a simple decision to attend community college to succeed in one of these institutions. In California, only 30% of community college students are receiving the benefits a college education can offer.
 
Study Results Concerning
 
A new study conducted by the Institute for Higher Education Leadership & Policy at Cal State Sacramento and reported by the Los Angeles Times found that the large majority of community college students failed to obtain a degree or transfer to a four-year institution. These students typically dropped out – some with a significant amount of debt and no degree to help them. In addition, only 40% of community college students achieved sufficient credit hours in school to boost their potential in the workforce.
 
The study also found a large disparity between minority and Caucasian students, with only 26% of African-American students and 22% of Latino students earning a degree, certification or transfer to a four-year university within six years. This compared to 37% of Caucasian students or 35% of Asian Pacific Islanders who saw success in community college. One possible reason for the difference is that many minority students in the California public school system find themselves in overcrowded classrooms with less access to qualified teachers and counselors.
 
Other States Facing Similar Problems
 
The low community college graduation rates are not restricted to California Schools. According to a report at the Goldwater Institute website, most Arizona community colleges can also be referred to . . . read more

Once thought of as traditional and old-fashioned, dress codes and school uniforms have become a center of focus for many schools once again. Some school administrators assert that maintaining a standard of dress is essential to level the playing field for students of all income levels and backgrounds, as well as to promote a clean, safe campus. The movement to stricter dress codes is no longer stopping at the secondary level. Today, some community colleges are even hopping aboard the dress code bandwagon too!  

Why Enforce Dress Codes?
 
The Clearinghouse on Educational Policy and Management from the University of Oregon states that the implementation of dress codes or school uniforms has been linked to a variety of benefits, including:
 
       ·        Safer schools overall
 
       ·        Enhanced learning environment
 
       ·        Higher student self esteem
 
       ·        Less pressure on parents

A strict dress code has been found to minimize violence in schools, particularly when it comes to gang-style clothing.  In addition, by eliminating expensive trendy clothing, the number of students robbed of shoes, hats, and jackets can be reduced.  Of course, when students feel safer on their school campus, learning is also enhanced.
 
Community College Dress Codes
 
In addition to many of the benefits listed above, community college students who must adhere to a relatively strict dress code receive training in how to dress for the professional world and beyond. Many community college administrators take their job of vocational training very seriously, and they believe appearance is an important component in that training if their graduates are . . . read more

One of the biggest obstacles community colleges face today is the ability to retain students until they graduate or transfer to another institution. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), just one in five public community college students graduate with their certificate or associate’s degree within three years. Students pursuing a two-year degree have a much lower chance of achieving their educational goals than those who begin their academic careers at a four-year university, as the graduation for students at four-year institutions is nearly 60 percent.




However, a college degree is imperative today for individuals who want to gain employment that offers sufficient income to support themselves and their families. Community colleges are an especially good place to get an education because of the convenience and affordability many two-year institutions offer. To help students reach their goals, colleges are getting creative in their methods of student retention.
 
President Obama has set a high bar for colleges across the country: to have the highest college graduation rates in the world by the year 2020. However, this is a very tall task. According to report by 24/7 Wall St., from 2000-2011, the college graduation growth rate in the United States was a paltry 1.4 percent – one of the slowest rates of any developed country. While the U.S. has climbed the list of most educated countries – moving up to fifth place from seventh place – there is still much work to . . . read more
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Recent Articles
Community Colleges Prep for the Future by Focusing on STEM
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.