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Freshmen and Living-Learning Communities

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Freshmen and Living-Learning Communities

From the MCG 2013 Junior edition

EVEN IF YOU WERE AN OUTGOING and confident high school senior, it can be overwhelming to first set foot on a college campus as a freshman. The level of work is higher, and suddenly you are living among all these new people. To help boost first-year confidence and ease the transition to college life, many colleges offer freshman learning communities (FLCs).

FLCs are close-knit communities in which the members share a common passion, major or achievement. Depending on the type of FLC you join, you could be just living with these like-minded students, or you could also be taking courses with them. Some FLCs can be very difficult to get into due to popularity or requirements.

LIVING-LEARNING COMMUNITIES

One type of FLC is the living-learning community (LLC), in which students live together and share a similar course of study. At Millikin University in Decatur, Ill., students can choose from nine LLCs on campus. While many are focused toward first-year students, there are also communities open to everyone. Millikin’s freshman LLCs include communities focused on nursing, business and honors (for incoming honor students).

“Each of these communities [has] all first-year students who live on a floor … and take classes together in that program or area of study,” explains Molly Berry, director of residence life at Millikin. “Some programs, like the first-year business LLC, have all of their classes together, and others only have a class or two together. These LLCs have a high level of faculty interaction. We invite faculty onto the residential floors on a monthly basis to interact informally, have dinner together or have a conversation about a particular ‘hot-topic’ issue.”

The University of South Florida offers 10 LLCs, several of which are open to freshmen. Most are academic, but one is a wellness-centered LLC that includes healthy cooking classes, fitness classes, stress management, off-campus trips and goal-setting strategies.

CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES

Other FLCs are academic seminars just for first-year students. They bring students together to work on a special topic as an introduction to college-level work. At Georgia Tech, for example, first-year students can participate in the Grand Challenges Program, which brings together 110 freshmen to focus on the relationship between food, water, energy and health care. Students work with the school’s world-renowned professors to try to solve some of the biggest issues facing the world today—and they earn class credit doing it!

College is an adjustment for any student. But you’ll adapt and meet plenty of people who share your interests in any college community. And soon enough, you’ll be that outgoing and accomplished student whose path started back in high school.

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