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.
View the most popular articles in Improving Learning:
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Why You Should Strive To Be On The Dean's List
Making the dean’s list at your community college may earn you scholarships, recognition, and improved job prospects. Learn about effective strategies that can help get you onto the dean’s list.
Nearly every community college and university across the country includes a Dean's List, a roster of students who have performed particularly well during the previous semester or school year. The Dean's List has traditionally been a prestigious honor for which to strive during your years of higher education because it demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence and the ability to rise to the workload, however heavy it might become. Whether you are just entering the hallowed halls of academia, or are currently working through your degree program, we have a list of reasons to strive for the dean's list and tips to help you get there.
What is the Dean's List?
According to Wikipedia, the Dean's List is "a category of students in a college or university who achieve high grades during their stay in an academic term or academic year." The term is primarily used in North America, but some European institutions offer a Dean's List as well.
Requirements for making the Dean's List vary from institution to institution, but most mandate a specific number of course hours to be taken and a set GPA to be maintained during the term or school year. It is important to inquire with the advisement center or your academic counselor regarding the specific requirements for the Dean's List at your college.
Benefits of the Dean's List
The benefits of making the Dean's List also vary from school to school, with some colleges even offering additional financial aid to students who make the Dean's List and exhibit
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How Your Smartphone Can Help You Earn Better Grades at Community College
Your iPod can stream so much more than simply music! Learn about how you can view your community college lectures on your smartphone, using this small piece of technology to improve your grades and academic experience.
Gone are the days when cellphones were strictly limited to playing music. Since iTunes launched iTunes U in 2007, iTunes and iPhones have become powerful tools for community college students, teachers, and lifelong learners of all ages. Students can select from a wide variety of video and audio lectures to download and then play these lectures on their handheld devices.

Best of all, all iTunes U content is available to the public free of charge. You may not have realized it, but your phone can become a learning resource that will improve your grades at community college!

ITunes U, which Apple describes as “possibly the world’s greatest collection of free educational media,” is a section of the iTunes store in which research universities, four-year colleges, and community colleges can post audio and video files. Apple’s website lists the current number of audio and video educational files at over 200,000, and the number continues to grow as more and more colleges begin podcasting their most popular courses.
This video explains what iTunes U is and how it works.
iTunes U and Community Colleges
Community colleges are rapidly joining the ranks of iTunes U participating institutions – and with good reason. Community college students often work in addition to going to school, and the ability to make learning more mobile is often highly coveted. A recent article in Community College Week noted that although it is unlikely that a community college will have the funds to give every
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The Benefits of Community College Minority Mentoring Programs
Learn about how minority mentorship programs at community colleges are improving academic performance and graduation rates, as well as providing a medley of benefits.

While all mentoring programs help improve student performance and graduation rates, some community colleges are finding that minority mentorship programs are even more beneficial.  Colleges across the country are celebrating the outstanding results achieved through the collaborative efforts of on-campus minority mentoring programs.  As the Education Resources Services Center articulates, “Mentoring is a process that can increase the retention of minority students, with larger numbers graduated and hired for faculty positions.” 

To discover the benefits of minority mentoring opportunities, consider what some of the top-performing organizations have been able to achieve with their local community college support.   
In their paper, Institutionalizing Mentoring in Community Colleges, Dr. Robin Phelps-Ward and Dr. Amanda O. Latz make the point that "Opportunities for institutionalized mentoring in community colleges have the potential to manifest in the promotion and tenure process, faculty development seminars, student recruitment and admissions procedures, and throughout curriculum development. However, colleges must make a concerted effort to weave and explicitly communicate mentoring as a value through mission and vision statements, strategic goals and outcomes, and even course objectives."
This video reports on the minority mentoring initiative at Montgomery County Community College.
Examining the College Student Spectrum
According to the Community College Review-Journal, diversity among community college student populations is constantly shifting.  In fact, recent US Census Bureau reports show that 42.3 percent of African Americans enrolled in college programs are specifically taking courses at community colleges.  50 percent of Native American college students, as well
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Should You Declare Academic Bankruptcy?
Learn about academic bankruptcy, its benefits and disadvantages, and whether this option is right for your GPA and financial aid eligibility.
Americans that have made bad financial decisions can begin the process of fixing their poor financial history by declaring bankruptcy. However, for community college students, did you know that a similar process exists for bad grades? A semester riddled with poor grades can be wiped clean with an academic bankruptcy. While an academic bankruptcy will not magically disappear from your records in seven years as a financial bankruptcy does, there are many advantages to undergoing the process. However, there are also some definite negatives to making this decision.    
Pros of Academic Bankruptcy
Although academic bankruptcy may sound like a novel term, it may help you raise your community college GPA. When you declare academic bankruptcy, you essentially erase the grades of one entire semester or quarter. If you’ve gotten good grades during your first two semesters in community college, then had one bad semester due to medical, family, or other issues, that one bad semester can completely ruin your GPA. By declaring that one semester bankrupt, the grades that you received will not be calculated as part of your overall GPA. This can be a good strategy for you to repair and boost your cumulative GPA
If you have lost your financial aid eligibility because of a cumulative GPA that does not meet the minimum requirements, then declaring academic bankruptcy may help you regain your financial aid more expeditiously. However, because policies vary from college to college, you should discuss this situation individually with your community college’s financial aid office before making the decision to declare a semester
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Get Better Grades in Community College by Being Social
Learn about the research that shows how participation in community college boosts student performance and success.
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 centers often provide students
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