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.
View the most popular articles in Student Issues / Attending College:
Employment Up for Community College Graduates
We examine a new report at USA Today that shows employment rates for community college graduates have skyrocketed - and which of the fields where a community college degree is particularly helpful.
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

10 Ways to Learn at Your Local Community College
We explore the various ways students can take full advantage of learning opportunities at community colleges today, from high school programs to worker retraining and transfer agreements.
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

Host of New Legislative Measures Coming to California Community Colleges
We report on the numerous pieces of legislation recently signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown in an attempt to revamp and ramp up the state’s floundering community college system.
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

Olympic Athletes with Community College Ties Compete in London
Did you know several Olympians competing this summer in London have roots in community colleges? Be inspired by their stories that go from community colleges to the hopeful gold!
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

Avoiding Dropout Factories: 10 Steps to Community College Success
Make sure you don't become part of a community college "dropout factory" by considering these 10 factors when choosing a community college.
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
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Arizona Community Colleges Defunded: What Students Need to Know
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Leading the country in slashing public education spending, Arizona voted to defund higher education, including Pima and Maricopa Community College Districts, leaving many Arizona college students wondering what this new state legislation means for the future of their education.
5 Alternative Methods for Earning Community College Credits
Not all community college students spend their winter and summer break on vacation. Some utilize that time to take a few extra classes and earn credits that can help them graduate early. Other students test out of courses and receive credit for work experiences in order to get ahead. In this article, learn about the various methods you can use to pursue extra college credits.
Free Community College Coming Soon? President Obama Hopes So
Earlier this year, President Obama outlined a proposal that would make community college free for millions of community college students. What does it mean for you?
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.