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.
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Published January 09, 2017 |
Common Mistakes Students Make During Their First Semester
When you first start college you may be overwhelmed by the newness of it. But keep these common mistakes in mind as you go through your first year to make sure that you are properly setup for the rest of your college career and your life thereafter.

College is a time of learning and self-discovery. It is exciting to finally be out in the world on your own – you don’t have to answer to anyone and you can do whatever you want, more or less. But just because you have more freedom in your life doesn’t mean that you can abuse it. Learn from the example of some college students who didn’t take college quite as seriously as they should have, and now they are paying the price.

Top Academic Mistakes You Want to Avoid

College is where you will learn the information and skills you need to succeed in the “real world” as an adult. You will pick a major and then take all of the classes you need to graduate with a degree in that major which will (hopefully) get you a job after graduation. There is no need to pack your class schedule with all of the hardest classes the school has to offer – you aren’t really trying to impress anyone. But there are some common academic mistakes you want to avoid. Here are a few of the most common academic mistakes first-year college students make:

  1. Believing that college is just like high school. In high school, your teachers hold you accountable for doing your classwork and for showing up on time. Once you get to college, however, it is on you to keep up with your classwork and homework, and to show up for class. This requires a certain degree of self-discipline which
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Updated September 15, 2015 |
Short Term Commitment – Long Term Benefits: Three Study-Abroad Options for Community College Students
While study abroad has long been considered an option only for students at four-year colleges and universities, there are actually many options for community college students who would like to experience studying in another country.
For many students attending four-year colleges or universities, a semester abroad is a typical experience and one that offers a host of benefits. Students who study abroad have the opportunity to live and study within a new culture, and often have the chance to hone valuable language skills.
 
However, for community college students, many of whom have important responsibilities outside of the classroom, spending months away from home and work is impractical at best, and more than likely impossible.
 
In recent years several community colleges have identified the benefits of studying abroad, and have acknowledged the unique challenges their students face in doing so. As a result, many community colleges now offer short-term study-abroad programs, as well as traditional semester programs. In the last decades, the number of community college students who take the opportunity to study abroad has expanded tremendously, from just fewer than 4,000 students back in 2001, to almost 300,000 in 2015.
 
Community colleges offer programs to fit the schedules and unique learning needs of almost any student:
  • Short-term educational programs
  • Traditional semester-long programs
  • Short and long term volunteer or service learning programs
Community college students can work with study abroad program providers, who will coordinate with a student’s college to assess the credit available for different short and long term programs. They can also enroll directly with foreign universities and transfer credits when they return. Finally, students can work with their own community colleges’ programs.
 
Short Term Study Abroad
 
Several providers offer short-term study abroad programs that are ideal for busy community college students.
  • CIEE
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Updated April 10, 2015 |
Mental Health Support for Community College Students
With serious mental health issues on the rise on college campuses nationwide, community colleges are scrambling to provide expanded mental health services to students.
Heading off to college is a time filled with excitement about the future. Meeting new people, learning new things, and experiencing college life are all events that many college students look forward to. Yet, college is also an extremely stressful time. The cost of college attendance, increased academic demands, and concerns about dating, relationships, and friendships are all common factors that contribute to an increasing number of college students that report a mental health issue.
 
If you find yourself feeling down, anxious, or otherwise mentally unwell, you are definitely not alone. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that 44 percent of students that seek help at their college counseling center have a severe psychological issue. That’s up from just 10 percent in 2000!   Most mental health issues present themselves between the ages of 18-24 as well. 
 
The National Alliance of Mental Illness surveyed college students diagnosed with a mental health condition within the last five years, with 19% of the surveyed individuals being community colleges.  Depression and bipolar disorder constituted more than 50% of the respondents' diagnoses.  The results across the spectrum were:   
In this article, we review several common mental health problems that community college students face, as well as solutions to help you get back on a path to good mental health.
 
Depression
According to research by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 27 percent of college students live with
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Updated April 10, 2015 |
5 Support Services to Boost Your Community College Success
College can be a difficult transition for many students. To help address students’ academic needs, many community colleges have started support services programs. Learn about some of these common programs and how they can help you be successful in school.
There are many perks to attending community college. From a financial standpoint, a community college education is far less expensive than one from a four-year school. Class sizes at community colleges tend to be smaller, so students can usually count on more individualized attention from your professors. Community college campuses are often closer to home as well, so students have an easier commute if they live off campus. If they live on campus, there are more social and recreational programs available today than ever before.
 
But going to college can still be a hard transition to make. The coursework is more rigorous than in high school, which can cause some students to struggle to keep pace. Some students enter community college without all the skills they need to be successful as well. Fortunately, community colleges have made student support services a primary focus of improvement over the course of the last twenty years. With academic support services like tutoring and remedial classes, on-campus advising and counseling services, and job-placement and transfer assistance programs, campuses offer assistance for students’ most common needs.  
Remedial Coursework Revisited
 
According to a report by the Community College Research Center, about six in ten community college students are referred to some kind of remedial course. For a healthy portion of those students, more than one remedial course is required. Being told you have to take a basic course in college can be surprising – and disconcerting – because most community college students
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Updated April 10, 2015
The Pros and Cons of Online Courses
Thanks to modern technology, students can now attend class from the comfort of their homes. While online courses were once deemed inferior to lecture halls, the stigma has seemed to fade as technology advances and becomes a greater and greater part of a standard academic curriculum. The virtual classroom is here, but are online college courses right for you?
The virtual classroom is here, but are online college courses right for you?
 
Thanks to modern technology, students can now attend class from the comfort of their homes. While online courses were once deemed inferior to lecture halls, the stigma has seemed to fade as technology advances and becomes a greater and greater part of a standard academic curriculum. Students, young and old, now have the choice to pursue online learning, whether through a single class or a full online university course load. But are there benefits to online learning? Or is something lost in translation when education becomes virtual? We examined both sides of the equation with several leading educational professionals.
The Pros of Online Courses 
 
Flexible Learning 
 
A flexible schedule is one of the main benefits of taking online courses. Mary Stephens, Founder and CEO of PrepForward.com, points out that online education “allows individuals to study at their own pace and on their own schedule.” Digital “classrooms” can be accessed anywhere, at any time. Mary, who teaches online courses at institutions across the U.S., believes this is a prime benefit to online learning in a world chock-full of so many hectic schedules.  
 
Professor Linda Williams, Founder and CEO of Whose Apple Empowerment Center, goes on to add, “Online courses do not require classroom attendance that can be disruptive to family and career obligations. The basic requirements in the virtual course room are clearly delineated and meeting deadlines can be
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Recent Articles
January 14, 2017
Even more midnight classes are launching at community college campuses across the country this year, in hopes of working around the demanding schedules of their students.
January 14, 2017
A new report by the American Institutes for Research shows that some states are paying billions of dollars on community college students who drop out before earning a degree or certification.
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Learn about a Governor’s Investment in Aerospace grant that will help 13 Washington community colleges develop training programs for the aerospace industry.
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