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Essay about College Freshman Learning Communities

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Freshman learning communities (FLC) are programs where 15 to 30 first-year students register for several general-education courses that focus on a common theme (Jaffee, 2004). Although there are several different types of learning communities, they all are designed for the same purposes. One of the main purposes in implementing freshman learning communities is to assist the students in their transition to a new environment. This acclimation involves becoming better acquainted with the other students, faculty members, campus culture, and academic expectations. However, with freshman learning communities also come negative aspects. Both facets must be evaluated to determine if freshman learning communities are effective.
The greatest advantage in participating in freshman learning communities is the chance to interact and socialize with a group of students known as a cohort. Lichtenstein (2005) noted that these programs are based on the premise that the better the student’s social involvement in the life of the college, the greater chance for academic success. Not only does this cohort of students assist in reducing the anxiety of the transition, but also gives students the social support needed to successfully progress through college (Engberg, 2007). Because of the small size, students are given a greater chance of participating, discussion, and overall getting to know one another. Students in learning communities not only tend to form their own support groups that extend beyond the classroom, but also spend more time together outside of class (Tinto 2000). Discussions outside of class, social activities, and study groups are all encouraged to participate in as a cohort.
Since students are usually grouped by commonalities, th...


... middle of paper ...


...s can be addressed and decreased so that the first-year students are getting exactly what is intended from the courses and activities.



Works Cited
Engberg. M. E. (2007). The influence of first-year “success” courses on student learning and democratic outcomes. Journal of College Student Development, 48, 241-258.

Jaffee, D. (2007). Peer cohorts and the unintended consequences of freshman learning communities. College Teaching, 55, 65-71.

Jaffee, D. (2004, July 9). Learning communities can be cohesive and divisive. The Chronicle of Higher Education, B16.

Lichtenstein, M. (2005). The importance of classroom environments in the assessment of learning community outcomes. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 341-356.

Tinto, V. (2000). What have we learned about the impact of learning communities on students?
Assessment Update, 12, 1-2, 12.



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