Student Populations

Attracting students from all walks of like, community college campuses are rich with diversity. This section covers a myriad of issues relating to student populations. Learn more about LGBT support on community college campuses, explore adult-friendly degree programmers and, see what resources are available to veterans.
View the most popular articles in Student Populations:
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At-Risk Students Find Success at Community Colleges
Learn about how community college programs can specifically help at-risk students achieve both academic and professional success.
Transitioning from a high school environment to a college campus is never easy, but for some students, the change is quite nearly impossible. The difficulties faced can be due to a number of factors. According to a report by Gulf Coast Community College, the reasons that students leave college include having academic difficulties, too many family or job-related responsibilities, not enough money to pay for college related-expenses and a lack of personal motivation to continue with their studies. Additionally, students whose parents did not attend college, and students who have a learning or emotional disability also face challenges as they attempt to get a college education.
 
However, these at-risk students can successfully obtain a degree. Community colleges across the country have special programs that seek to help at-risk students stay in school. As mentioned in the Gulf Coast Community College report, providing academic guidance services, transition programs for high school students, and targeted interventions for specific at-risk populations are among the most effective interventions colleges can use. Northern Virginia Community College, more commonly known as NOVA, has instituted an innovative program to help non-traditional and at-risk students achieve academic success and even go on to earn a four-year degree. NOVA’s program can serve as a model for what other colleges can and should do to help at-risk students.
 
This video explains what an at-risk student is.
 
 
The Importance of Community College
 
In the past, community colleges have struggled to provide enough assistance to students who
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Which Community College is Best for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
For students with autism spectrum disorder, community colleges across the country can provide excellent higher education support. Learn about how to choose the right community college that specifically meets the needs of ASD students.
According to Autism Speaks, a national society devoted to serving the autistic population and family members, 1 out of every 150 children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is rather mysterious learning disability, which typically involves a child’s struggle to socially, emotionally, and personally interact with others. Autistic children tend to show an unawareness of others’ feelings, facial recognition, and social cues. 
 
Despite these struggles, however, ASD students are commonly intellectually exceptional. Autism Spectrum Disorder is described as a “spectrum” because the symptoms of each child can vary significantly. Those with strong signs of Autism are generally labeled as having “Classic Autism,” while individuals with fewer signs of autism may be labeled as having “Asperger’s Syndrome.” 
 
According to Autism Speaks, “Compared with classic autism, children with Asperger's Syndrome usually don't show any signs of major cognitive difficulties — their IQ falls in the normal or even superior range.” Similarly, children who are diagnosed with Classic Autism may have more noticeable signs, but are often able to exceed their peers’ standard intellectual and cognitive abilities. 
 
High school students or adults who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be confident that community colleges across the country have various programs for individualized support. As Autism is, by far, the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the United States, community college leaders are ardently seeking new programs, lessons, and curriculum opportunities to build enhanced ASD foundations. 
 
How to Determine if a Community College is Right for an ASD Student
 
According to Community College Times, many students with Asperger’s and Autism
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The Secret Signs of Undiagnosed Adult Attention Deficit Disorder
Learn about the symptoms of Adult ADD and ADHD, and how an undiagnosed disorder may impact your academic, social, and professional endeavors.
According to research, nearly 92 percent of adults who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) remain untreated until the age of 18 or older!  As reported by the organization Adult ADHD, nearly all adults who discover their condition later in life wish they had known about their diagnosis at a much younger age, as early treatment could have prevented many academic struggles, social issues, and professional problems.
 
Most experts assert that so many adults remain untreated for ADHD due to a mere lack of information.  As Adult ADHD further explains, 77 percent of pediatricians believe that a lack of information regarding ADHD is the primary problem that prevents children from receiving early diagnoses and treatments.
 
With so many individuals discovering their diagnosis of ADHD as adults, community college students who are struggling academically may need to review the potential symptoms to find out if ADHD could be one of the causes of their personal concerns and toils.  If ADHD is a specific concern for adult students attending community college, there are often support programs and resources for students to receive extra support and assistance. 
 
What is ADHD?
 
ADHD is a disorder that causes the brain to function in a different manner than a “normal” brain.  While all brains function uniquely, an individual with ADHD often experiences greater difficulty controlling their thoughts, acting patiently, interacting socially, and so forth. 
 
While the problems of ADHD are centered in the brain, it is important to note that the issues of ADHD are simply
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Changing Student Demographics: Rising Number of Professional Students
Learn about the increasing numbers of older, professional students attending community colleges, which offer excellent opportunities for adult learners.
Amidst a shifting economy, job layoffs, unemployment, and other professional catalysts, community colleges are experiencing a rise in attendance from experienced students who have already engaged in work out in the “real world.” Today, as many adults are seeking new professional opportunities and training courses, community colleges are creating unique programs and classes to meet the new demands of an older student population. 
 
Experiencing the Shift
 
As Community College Week reports, older students are returning to various community college campuses for an array of reasons. Specifically, and most commonly, many adults today are forced to cope with an unexpected career shift, as a rising number of employers and companies have been required to downsize their staff to accommodate a struggling economy’s spending changes. 
 
The trend of adult students returning to community college campuses is not a new phenomenon. As researcher Cynthia Howell expounds, just a decade ago, in 1997, nearly a third of community college students were 30 years old or older! The trend has continued today, and due to the increased enrollment rates among older students, community colleges are experimenting with new methods for providing each unique student with support. 
 
This video discusses some of the community college courses available for Kansas direct support professionals.
 
Meeting the Needs of Adult Learners
 
While many new community college students see their higher education pathway as both a professional and social experience, adult students enter into their community college coursework with a different focus and intent. As Community College Week further asserts, “For many new students, the first-year college experience is an
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Programs for Senior Citizens and Retirees at Community Colleges
Read about the increasing number of programs for senior citizens and retirees at community colleges.
 While community colleges are known to provide opportunities for both young and adult learners, new programs are gearing courses and venues to more strongly focus on senior and retired community members. Paired with this, many community colleges offer substantial education discounts. For example, Terra Community College, in Fremont Ohio, offers individuals 60 and older with free tuition. Here, older students are able to participate in courses under non-credit agreements, and they are only responsible for the costs of lab fees, books, and any other course supplies. 
 
Are Community College Programs the Right Fit for Older Students?
 
While beginning any new course of study, regardless of age, can be nerve-wracking, studies show that an increasing number of retired community members are taking courses. According to a Washington State Community College interview, a student asserted that it is not at all unusual to see people ranging from 40 to 60, or older, in various courses. On average, this interviewed student claims to have at least one to three older students in each of her classes. 
 
As Janienne Jennrich further supports, in her article “Senior Citizens Going to College, “quite often, older students are rather popular. It all depends on personality and being willing to join in discussions and events.” As most of the staff members and instructors are also often older, mature students bring a different set of experiences and potentials to a college course. With this, seniors are not only welcome to take community college courses but are also strongly encouraged, as many seniors’ intelligence
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Student Populations