Improving Learning

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Could being social and involved on your community college campus lead to better grades? According to the Community College Survey (CCS), there is an inherent link between student involvement and academic performance. 
 
Based upon the CCS, student involvement in campus opportunities lead to better learning and academic performance. While many school leaders are devising new ways to increase student participation, community college students should be self-motivated to become more involved in the full collegiate experience.
 
Benefits of Engaging in Campus Opportunities
 
According to researcher Christopher Chaves of Community Colleges Los Angeles, the earlier a student engages in campus participation, the better the results. For example, nearly all community college students who participate in a freshman orientation program tend to hold greater retention rates, complete their degrees, and earn overall higher grades than individuals who did not participate in orientation. 
 
Furthermore, according to the investigation, four local North Carolina community colleges revealed “that involvement in a freshman orientation course improved student performance regardless of race, age, gender, major, employment status, or entrance exam scores.” 
 
Studies support that community college students utilizing campus opportunities tend to experience greater developmental benefits than those who do not participate in such venues.
 
What Else Students Can Do: How to Get Involved
 
Utilize Academic Support Centers
 
According to Chavez, students who take advantage of campus-wide learning centers tend to experience greater academic benefits and performance results. Whether you are struggling with a specific topic or simply want to be fully prepared for finals, students should take advantage of academic-based learning centers on campus. These learning . . . read more

Community colleges across the country have implemented specific support programs to stimulate student support and success. Often referred to as “mentor services” or “mentor programs,” community college mentors can be paramount leaders for guiding and encouraging younger students. Mentors are often older community college students who have demonstrated specific academic or professional successes in their collegiate studies. By sharing their knowledge and insight with new and younger students, community colleges have designed powerful programs to enhance the success of all students and campus members. 
 
What is a Mentor Program?
 
While each community college has its own unique mentoring program, the general concept focuses on pairing a new or young student with an older, more experienced student. Oftentimes, mentors will guide new students by helping them set their schedules, by providing campus tours, or by offering to serve a new student as an academic tutor or study buddy. 
 
When engaging in a mentoring program, mentors are considered to be the “experts” in their field or organization, while mentees are the more novice and less experienced organization members. In the case of community colleges, mentors are normally students, although may often also be professors, while mentees are new and younger students, or students who may needs special support services, such as ESL support, transfer support, and so forth. 
 
Community College Mentor Programs
 
 
As Hostos Community College reveals, their successful mentor program is supported by their campus’ Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), along with the cooperation of the Office of Academic Advisement. 
 
With the . . . read more

As a rising number of students enroll in community college programs, the support of a community college counselor is becoming increasingly vital. As researcher Preston Pulliams from the ERIC Clearinghouse on Counseling and Personnel Services supports, “The emerging role of community college counseling is actually an expansion of traditional roles: Community college counselors are becoming learning agents, student developers, and resource managers.”
 
Traditionally, community college counselors focused on “providing personal counseling, vocational guidance, and social support for the traditional community college student.”  However, as student enrollment grew, and the student populations become more academically, socially, and financially diverse, counselors have shifted their focus: “To meet the needs of these new students, community colleges are reinstating testing and placement, dismissal and probation policies, general education requirements, and select admissions programs.” 
 
Community Counselors and Systems of Support
 
Learning Aids
 
As Pulliams further explains, “The emerging role of counseling involves helping students to complete their academic objectives […] Counselors must perform the roles of student developers and learning agents.” Adding to this, “counselors must communicate to students the importance of skill building and other academic requirements and help them understand the value of their academic endeavors.”  
 
Counselors, as learning aids, can help serve students of the community college as academic supporters; counselors have access to all of the school’s resources and tools to help students find specific and interpersonal support and assistance. For example, if a student is struggling with specific math concepts, a counselor can guide the student towards a center for tutoring, or can help a student . . . read more

As community colleges provide students of diverse backgrounds with access to courses, instruction, and training venues, schools are now implementing increased support for students whose primary and native language is not English. Students who are in the process of learning English are referred as English as a Second Language (ESL) students, and community colleges are revising their programs to extend and improve academic and campus support.
 
Community College ESL Courses
 
Many community colleges offer ESL students a variety of specialized language courses. Typically, students will take a proficiency test and will then enroll in the appropriate ESL / language course based on individual skills and abilities. As Kenneth Beare in “Setting ESL Class Objectives” explains, taking “language acquisition needs into consideration when planning a class or individual instruction is crucial for a successful learning experience […] When a student understands his/her reasons for learning English well, he can then better plan his learning strategy. In the classroom, he/she can help the teacher identify needs and desires.”
 
Community College ESL Resources
 
In addition to specialized courses, most community colleges also provide students with personalized support systems, such as tutoring offices and academic advisors. Students can take advantage of ESL resources by visiting the community college campus resource center, or by meeting with an academic advisor for further guidance and information. 
 
Examining Community College ESL Programs
 
 
Located in Mesa, Arizona, Mesa Community College provides ESL students with a variety of resources and programs for academic support. As MCC explains, “ESL Support Services provides informational services to prospective . . . read more

As students transition to the demands of community college courses, many individuals quickly realize that they are in need of added academic support. While instructors are able to assist during office hours, community colleges also offer resource centers, and even some college courses, to help provide students with added assistance.
 
Community College Academic Resource Centers
 
 
With over five campuses across the state of Iowa, Iowa Lakes Community College provides students with a resource center at each of its campus locations. At the resource centers, students can specifically seek help for academic issues; for example, “Students may request individual tutoring, help with proof reading papers, and/or assistance in developing good study skills.” As many new community college students struggle with essays, homework assignments, or even with issues of organization and memorization, the academic resources at community college campuses can be avenues of beneficial support.
 
Added to the resources of academic assistance, community college students can also find out information about generalized entry exams, or class placement exams. Furthermore, Iowa Lakes Community College requires “each incoming freshman be assessed.  Assessment results help guide students into appropriate academic courses.  Students are assessed using ACT, ASSET, or COMPASS in the areas of reading, writing, and mathematics.” To become prepared and aware of the testing information, students can utilize the campus-wide resource centers to find out sample test questions, testing dates, and testing strategies.
 
 
Located in Fremont, Ohio, Terra Community College is another institution gaining recognition for its outstanding student outreach . . . read more
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