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 arrival of a global economy has increased the need for higher education that is more globally focused today. A new study suggests that community colleges are answering that call, providing students with education and experiences that have a much longer reach than ever before. Many individual schools are also answering the need for global education directly, with the introduction of programs that help students expand their horizons – and their world – from their own local community college campus. With plenty of options to choose from today, community college students can rest assured the education they receive will prepare them for a future in a world that has become larger and smaller at the same time.

Study Indicates International Business a Focal Point at Community Colleges
The recent study was conducted by researchers at Michigan State University. According to the MSU website, the study found that in 2008, only about 51 percent of community colleges in the country were offering basic courses in international business. In just four years, that number has skyrocketed to 85 percent. With a significant number of college students in the United States attending community college today, those findings show the country is on the right track to cultivating a more globally-minded workforce in the future.
“The most important takeaway is that we as a nation appear to be putting funds into community college education to infuse a global mindset in a much larger way than in the past few years,” Tomas Hult, director of
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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
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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,
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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
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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
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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 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.