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. Analyze the latest data on graduation and employment rates. Plus news from journals, blogs and more.

View the most popular articles in Student Issues / Attending College:

The Pros and Cons of Online Courses

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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 fully 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.
 
This video offers an overview of online learning in community colleges.
 
 
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
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4 Indispensable Tips for Surviving Your 1st Semester of Community College

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4 Indispensable Tips for Surviving Your 1st Semester of Community College
This summer will be wrapping up before we know of it, and your first semester at community college is rapidly approaching. Are you ready for it?
This summer will be wrapping up before we know of it, and your first semester at community college is rapidly approaching. Are you ready for it?
 
According to American College Testing (ACT), one out of every four college students will end up leaving college before finishing their sophomore year. With statistics like these, it’s easy to see why the first year of community college is critical to success. This is a chance to build not only an academic foundation, but a real-world foundation that will carry through college, career and the rest of your life. Todd Rhoad, Managing Director at Blitz Team Consulting, perhaps puts it best, “Students should begin community college with an open mind as this is their opportunity to begin to see the world in a whole new light and begin to develop a view of the world of possibilities.”
 
Community college presents different challenges and experiences than most four year universities, Todd believes. “Community Colleges aren’t as glamorous and flamboyant as the bigger campuses, which seem to be more interested in their architectural coherence and student social experience. Community colleges focus on the one thing that new students need; that is, the learning experience.”
 
If you’re getting ready to prep for your first semester, you’re in luck, because we’ve assembled four crucial tips to get you started.
1. Set Your Goals and Have a Vision
 
The first step to success in community college is having a clear idea of
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Students Stuck for Four Years to Earn an Associate's Degree

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Students Stuck for Four Years to Earn an Associate's Degree
A recent report revealed that many California community college students take twice as long to get an associate’s degree as is normally required. While community college is less expensive than attending a four-year institution, students who drag out their degree programs lose much of that savings in additional tuition, fees, textbooks, and lost wages. In this article, we examine the reasons why some students take so long to graduate.
A new report released by the Campaign for College Opportunity shows that of the more than 60,000 students who obtained an associate’s degree in California during the 2012-2013 school year, half took over four years to get their degree. This is an alarmingly long time, especially when compared to the 4.7 years it takes the average student to complete a bachelor’s degree at California State University.

A significant number of community college students choose to take that route because of the affordability. According to data from College Board, in 2011, community college students paid on average $2,713 in tuition and fees, as compared to $7,605 for students who attended an in-state four-year institution. At less than half the cost, community colleges pose significant financial benefits for students who are on a tight budget.Reference: Center on International Education Benchmarking
 

However, time seems to be the biggest enemy of students who begin their post-secondary education at the community college level. The College Board’s report shows that of the cohort of students who began their community college studies in 2005, only 21 percent graduated within three years – a full year longer than is traditionally required. Many of the financial benefits gained by attending a two-year institution are lost if students aren’t able to complete their degree on time. Yet, students who enroll in a two-year program are the ones who are most likely to be impacted by factors that extend their graduation timeline.

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Competency-Based Education: Better for Your Academic Success?

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Competency-Based Education: Better for Your Academic Success?
In recent years, interest in competency-based education has risen drastically. It is a form of learning in which students engage in self-paced instruction and assessment of aptitudes rather than attending traditional courses and receiving traditional grades. Seen as the future of community college education by some, and as a cheapened version of a real education by others, competency-based education appears to be here to stay.
The essential difference between competency-based education (CBE) and traditional programs is that CBE measures learning without regard to time. They utilize direct measures of assessment to determine understanding of content, as opposed to requiring a certain number of credits or contact hours of class time in order to earn a letter grade. Students instead demonstrate what they know when they know it well enough to be deemed competent. In essence, it is much like an AP exam, only on a far larger scale: AP students must pass a test with a certain level of competency in order to earn credit for the course. Students in a competency-based program must do the same for each course they undertake.
 
The first program completely based on competencies rather than credits was green-lighted by the Department of Education in August of 2013 at College of America, a community college associated with Southern New Hampshire University. Since then, there has been a push for this type of system to be implemented at community colleges across the country. This movement is the result of several shifts in the landscape of higher education in recent years. As the cost of a college education continues to rise, community colleges, universities, federal agencies, and private entities have been exploring a less expensive way for students to obtain a degree or certification. The individualized pacing of CBE is seen by many as a solution to this problem, as it is a system of learning completely free of time-based instruction.
Secondly,
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Report Highlights Primary Barrier Facing Women at Community Colleges

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Report Highlights Primary Barrier Facing Women at Community Colleges
A new report from the American Association of University Women found that the primary barrier facing women in community colleges today is decreasing access to affordable childcare. What can community colleges do to remove the barrier?
Community college is often the choice for women seeking higher education. These institutions typically provide many features adult female students need, including proximity to their homes and affordable tuition rates. However, one primary barrier consistently interferes with a woman’s ability to complete her community college education, according to a recent report.
 
Primary Barrier for Student Parents: Affordable Child Care
 
The majority of student parents at community colleges today are women who are trying to juggle family, work and school responsibilities as they pursue higher education. A new report released by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) shows that the largest obstacle facing this student demographic is access to affordable child care. Unfortunately, Raw Story reports that these findings have been released at a time when federal funding for child care is dwindling across the country.
 
In this TEDTalk, Heather Wylie, a first-generation college student from a low income, rural Northern California community, talks about how she became a college professor in large part because of connections she made with individuals, ideas, and communities. In this talk, she challenges us to change the conversation from community colleges as places of last resort to institutions of innovation inspiration and social change.
 

The report, titled, “Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success,” was officially released just before Mother’s Day. The authors of the report, Andresse St. Rose and Catherine Hill, used a variety of sources as they put together their analysis. These sources included a review of
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Student Issues / Attending College

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.
The Pros and Cons of On-Campus Housing for Community College
The Pros and Cons of On-Campus Housing for Community College
Living on Campus: Student Housing Coming to a Community College Near You
Living on Campus: Student Housing Coming to a Community College Near You
Campus Living Options for Community College Students
Campus Living Options for Community College Students
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.
The Top 10 Tips for Incoming Community College Students
The Top 10 Tips for Incoming Community College Students
Should You Declare Academic Bankruptcy?
Should You Declare Academic Bankruptcy?
Why You Should Strive To Be On The Dean's List
Why You Should Strive To Be On The Dean's List
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.
Understanding the Different Types of College Degrees and How to Choose
Understanding the Different Types of College Degrees and How to Choose
Do You Need to Pick a Major Before Starting Community College?
Do You Need to Pick a Major Before Starting Community College?
Getting into Law School with a Community College Degree
Getting into Law School with a Community College Degree
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.
Graduate from Community College Earlier  By Paying More
Graduate from Community College Earlier By Paying More
How Community Colleges Plan to Spend Summer Vacation
How Community Colleges Plan to Spend Summer Vacation