What is a Learning Community?

Learning Communities enroll small groups of students (15-23) into a set of courses together forming an educational package that includes a built-in support network of peers.  Learning Communities provide a wide range of benefits including connections to faculty, peer mentors, campus resources, and special insights into what is required to be successful in your program of study.  Some benefits of Learning Communities are the formation of a social network, a small group learning environment, and the experience of peer mentors who have excelled in the same coursework. Talk with your academic advisor about what your program faculty or college expects and/or requires.

Am I required to participate in a Learning Community?

Most UC students—as many as 65% of incoming baccalaureate students—enroll in a Learning Community or similar educational structure (e.g., an arts studio or performance group) during their first year.  Nearly all students in the following colleges enroll in an LC:  Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), Allied Health Sciences (CAHS), and Medicine (COM).  In addition, almost half the students in Arts & Sciences (A&S) enroll in a Learning Community.

How do I register for a Learning Community?

You will register for a Learning Community after consulting with your academic advisor during new student orientation. You will automatically be enrolled for the classes that are associated with your Learning Community once you enter the Learning Community class number that your advisor will provide. Your advisor will also go over all the important details and logistics of registering for classes.

Can I drop a Learning Community after I registered if I feel it is not the right fit for me?

If you have questions regarding dropping your Learning Community, contact your academic advisor.

Who leads the Learning Community?

Most Learning Communities in A&S, CEAS, CAHS, and COM, have an independent LC meeting time that is facilitated by a Peer Leader.  Peer Leaders are upper-class students who have been specially selected based upon their academic and leadership capabilities.  A Peer Leader will serve as your mentor and will guide you academically, socially, and professionally.  If you don’t have a Peer Leader assigned to your LC, then another structure has been put into place to provide the support you need to be successful.

Can I still enroll in a Learning Community if I have AP or other credit?

Many students with advanced placement credit enroll in a Learning Community; however, you should talk to your advisor about any AP or other credit that you may have. Your advisor will be able to make accommodations to your schedule if necessary.

How much of a commitment is a Learning Community?

Learning Communities that have an assigned Peer Leader usually meet twice a week for 55-minute periods. When you enroll in a Learning Community, there will be a specific time for the Learning Community meeting on your schedule.  Just like any other class, it has a set curriculum and requires attendance. Much of the time spent in LC reinforces content associated with your LC courses, and provides valuable skills to be successful academically, professionally, and personally. Many students find that enrolling in an LC makes them more efficient learners.  90.82% of first-year students who enrolled in a Learning Community recommend LC to future Bearcats.  On average, LC students earn higher grades and complete more hours towards their degrees than students not enrolled in LC.

If I do not sign up for a Learning Community for the Fall Semester, can I join during Spring Semester?

Students in Learning Communities during the Fall Semester will have priority registration for Spring Semester Learning Communities. It will be very difficult for other students to sign up for a Learning Community for the Spring Semester. However, if there are seats open after the continuing LC students have registered, then you can talk to your advisor about joining or changing a Learning Community for the Spring.

How are students placed into Learning Communities?

Students enroll into Learning Communities based on their majors, areas of interest, and placement scores for math, science, and English courses. You will talk with your advisor at new student orientation about what Learning Community may best suit you.

Are there Learning Communities for exploratory students?

Yes! The Center for Exploratory Studies offers a variety of Learning Communities for first-year students.  Talk to your advisor to see which Learning Community would be best for you.

Is the Learning Community worth any credit hours or will I receive a letter grade?

The Learning Community meeting time itself is graded as a pass/fail, non-credit course, but all of the classes associated with the Learning Community (those you are automatically enrolled in as part of the LC package are graded) are credit-bearing and graded according to the university grading scale.  In order to pass the Learning Community, you must fully participate in the credit-bearing associated courses, as well as attend and actively participate in the LC meeting time. Because LC meeting time is a non-credit bearing course, a fail will not affect your GPA but will show up on your transcript as a "U” (unsatisfactory). 

What are the benefits of being in a Learning Community?

90.82% of former LC students recommend the experience to incoming first-year students and 94.24% agreed that LC prepared them to be successful in their second year. Along with incorporating the content of your associated LC courses, Learning Community meetings focus on four target learning areas: integrative learning, intellectual and self-management skills, professional and civic responsibility, and university engagement. Students in a Learning Community also get the opportunity to network with upper-class students, faculty, and advisors.  Learning Communities also provide students with a support network of peers who share common coursework and goals.  Because of this co-enrollment, LC students benefit from learning alongside their peers and forming study groups.  

Am I required to re-enroll in my Learning Community for the Spring Semester?

Some colleges require students to re-enroll in their Learning Community for the Spring Semester; however all students are strongly encouraged to consult with their academic advisor to determine their best plan of action.

If I am unable to join a Learning Community, what other first-year experience opportunities can I get involved in? 

There are many opportunities available for first year students to get involved! Check out the 15 in 15 initiative to learn all about UC and to experience the most of what we have to offer. Talk with your academic advisor about first-year seminars offered by your college. In addition, check out the many opportunities to get engaged in university life through Student Activities and Leadership Development (SALD).  For example, you might apply to be part of the Discovering Leadership Program, explore social justice issues through RAPP, or join RallyCats for spirit-filled fun at sporting events.  There is an organization for everyone. For a more complete listing of options, check out CampusLink.



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