Students at the University of Connecticut have until Monday, Jan. 23, to apply to join a learning community.
“For second-year students who are applying, we are looking for investment,” said Melissa Foreman, assistant director of first–year programs and learning communities, and learning communities manager.
Learning communities have been at the University of Connecticut since 2002, and they have been successful in bringing together students and providing them with resources early on their education, Foreman said.
Foreman said that 40 percent of the incoming class are part of learning communities.
Nico Wright, a sixth-semester engineering and German double major, is part of the Eurotech Learning Community. He said the chance to be with people who were taking similar classes brought the group together and made academics easier.
“In the case of Eurotech, having people to speak German with and complete assignments is helpful,” Wright said.
This is one of the many benefits of being in a learning community offers, Foreman said.
“(Students) get to know academic advisors, student leaders, faculty leaders, other students in the same classes,” Foreman said. “It provides a lot of support.”
“We had an academic advisor and tutors who would come to us twice a week and that was really helpful resource,” Wright said.
One of the goals behind learning communities is to make living on UConn’s large campus a more manageable experience for new students by helping them find the resources they need.
First-year students can apply and the spots will be given on a first come first basis.
The exception to this is the learning communities where they want to have equal representation, Foreman said.
In other words, not all males that apply to the engineering learning community will be accepted since the program wants an equal number of male and female residents.
Second-year students must demonstrate an interest in being part of the community, Foreman said.
After the application deadline, students complete a follow-up application explaining why they are interested in being part of the community, Foreman said.
Returning students who want to be part of it again their second year will be evaluated in how successful they were and what progress they made, Foreman added.
On the other hand, students who are applying for the first time as second-year students need to show investment and compromise with the learning communities.
Some of the programs available for students in their learning communities include a common first-year experience class, seminar and service communities
“While assisting students with their transition to academic life, they offer a small college feel and a sense of place on a large campus; they promote meaningful and sustained interactions with faculty, staff and student leaders; and they provide an effective structure for curricular coherence, deeper learning, student success, persistence and engagement,” according to the UConn Academic Vision website.
While Wright has enjoyed and taken advantage of the opportunities given to him by Eurotech, he recognizes that in a way it might isolate him from other students with different majors.
“Living with people with the same interest is a big bonus, but at the same time you don’t get to know people from other background, because at the learning community we are all doing the same thing,” Wright said.
“Learning communities can be the foundation to students for their UConn experience. It’s not meant to be their whole experience,” Foreman said.
Daniela Marulanda is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.