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Connections Beyond the Campus

In your experience at this college during the current school yea , about how often have you done each of the following?

Participated in a community- based project as part of a regular course

Often or very often




Discussed ideas from your classes outside of class (with students, family members, co-workers)



Will you have an internship, field experience, co-op experience, or clinical assignment while attending this college?

I have not done so nor plan to do so



I have done so


I plan to do so

Source: 2009 CCSSE Cohort data.

16 2009 Findings

Connections Beyond the Campus

A variety of powerful engagement and connection opportunities — such as community service projects, internships, eld experiences, and attendance at assigned cultural or political events — are available beyond the campus.

Many community colleges also begin engaging students when they still are in high school to encourage college enrollment and boost college readiness. By making early connections directly with students, as well as with high school teachers, administrators, and parents, colleges can help incoming students prepare for the academic, social, and

  • nancial challenges ahead.

In focus groups, sta members encourage their colleges to do more of this work. One sta member notes, “We love the idea that it would be possible to have early contact with the students before they register. We could start to build a relationship and tell them about college … . ey would feel that they knew someone to talk to and someone to contact with their questions about going to college … and we wouldn’t lose them before they ever come.”

In terms of o-campus connections for current students, 50% of students report that they oen or very oen discussed ideas from their classes outside of class (with other students, family members, co-workers, etc.). But few students are engaged in college- related projects that take place o campus. More than three-quarters of students (77%) report that they never participated in a community-based project. Fewer than one in ve students (17%) has participated in an internship, eld experience, co-op experience, or clinical assignment, while 41% indicate that they have not had, nor do they plan to have, such an experience.

Making the Most of Connections Beyond the Campus

Connections beyond the campus are most likely to happen when they are mandatory. Col- leges can require service projects and other experiential learning opportunities so more students can make the compelling connections that may evolve from these experiences.

Colleges Making Connections

El Paso Community College (TX) and the El Paso Area College Readiness Consor- tium are focused on designing strategies that will decrease the need for remediation for college-bound high school graduates. e consortium administers placement tests to students while they are still in high school so they can take necessary steps to prepare for college before they graduate. Other key strategies include a summer bridge program and sharing of student data between K–16 schools and partners. Between 2003 and 2006, EPCC saw a 5% increase in the number of college-ready students and a 26% decrease in the percentage of students placing into all three developmental education areas.

Making Connections: Dimensions of Student Engagement

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