The Truth About Student Life at Community Colleges

Three things you should know about community college student life.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

September 07, 2014

The Truth About Student Life at Community Colleges

Community colleges have long been referred to as commuter campuses, and that term infers that students simply drive to campus to attend class and then leave. While that may have been the case 10 years ago, it isn’t anymore. In fact, many two-year schools have a boisterous student life and presence on campus that can oftentimes rival that of a four-year college. Exploring student life at a community college may put you more at ease with considering one during your college search.

Clubs and Organizations

Like universities, community colleges offer students the opportunity to gather with other students that share the same interests and passions. These clubs and organizations range from religious and cultural groups to creative writing and journalism workshops to chess clubs and meets. Additionally, community college students have the chance to be invested in the student governance of their campus through elections for.

Phi Theta Kappa has a presence on just about every community college campus. This prestigious international fraternity recognizes students at two-year institutions who excel academically. Students can be involved in as much or as little as they please, and like any other club and organization at a community college, it’s a great addition to a student’s resume.

It should be added here that community colleges have an open policy to student clubs and organizations, meaning that students can start their own clubs whenever they wish. It typically has to go through a submission and review process, but given that community colleges want to offer the same environment to students as four-year universities are able to, it’s easy to start an organization.

Diverse Student Body

U.S. News and World Report states that the number of students attending community college has jumped from 5.5 million students in 2000 to over 8 million for the 2010 – 2011 school year. Given those figures, you can imagine the diversity within the student body at community colleges across the country. We’re not just talking ethnic diversity either.

Community colleges aren’t just hubs of learning for students ages 18 – 24; it’s just as much a learning institution for returning students who are either looking to make a career change, unemployed and hoping to acquire further marketable skills, or simply going back to school for the sake of knowledge. This type of diversity is a real benefit to those students that do attending community college just after high school. Not only do they receive the benefit of learning from their professors but from the experience of other students too.

Athletics

What may surprise you most about the community at two-year colleges is that there is an opportunity to not only support but potentially play a sport you’re passionate about. Two-year colleges are part of the National Junior College Athletic Association, which is the governing body of athletics at hundreds of community colleges across the country.

This network provides students who want to continue playing a sport after college the opportunity to do so as well as gives other students at the community college a chance to cheer on and support their fellow students in sports that they love to watch. These athletic teams play others in their area, guaranteeing a spirit of competitiveness that is seen at four-year colleges and universities as well.

Whether you want to play a sport, have a say in the dynamics of your campus or meet with other students who have a deep appreciation for film, community colleges pave a way for you to do it all. Just because you attend a community college doesn’t mean you won’t have an opportunity to experience the rich student life you hear about at four-year colleges. In fact, you’ll find it’s quite the opposite.

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