Another round of applications: Prospective college students seek further opportunities at their new schools


Sankaran Subramaniam

Ramya Subramaniam stands in front of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She and fellow senior Owen Jones will be participating in Georgia Tech’s Grand Challenges Living and Learning Community.

Ramya Subramaniam, Student Life Editor

As many seniors are wrapping up their college admissions processes, another set of applications could be a part of their future.

Learning communities are an opportunity that students can take advantage of in college. They are programs where students who share similar goals collaborate in and out of a classroom setting. Usually, in order to participate in the communities, students have to complete an application and be admitted.

Some of these programs are called Living and Learning Communities (LLC), which require students to live in the same dorms as their fellow classmates in the community. Schools do this as a hope of making sure there is bonding between the community and to make sure students are able to participate in all activities that are a part of the program.

Senior Amber Matthews is currently completing her application for the Young, Gifted and Black Learning Community at the University of Iowa. “In order to apply for this LLC (and all of the other LLCs at UI except for Honors), one has to fill out the housing application, select the LLC they desire, and write a supplemental statement on why they’d like to be a part of that community and what they intend to contribute,” she said.

The application process for learning communities is usually much more laid back than normal applications. They ask a couple of questions just to see if the student will fit in among the students. Because of the various different communities, students can apply to multiple to find the place where they will fit best.

There are different types of communities at each college including areas that surround entrepreneurship, sustainability, research and many more major specific communities. 

Senior Owen Jones will be attending the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta next year to pursue mechanical engineering. Georgia Tech has five LLCs for freshmen. Jones will be participating in the Grand Challenges LLC which focuses on entrepreneurship and leadership.

“I’m most looking forward to hopefully having a very close group of friends in the learning community,” Jones reflected. “I decided on a LLC because it offers unique classes and a very cool problem solving program. I’m hoping that I get more experience working in teams and that I make friends in the community.”

Learning communities are typically run and organized by upperclassmen and a couple of professors. The goal with this setup is to allow students to get a better understanding of campus life as well as provide a mentor for students.

Though learning communities are a significant time commitment for students, many believe they are a great way to make new friends and find community within the college setting.

“I believe that the importance of living and learning communities depends on the person, but for me, I’d like to be in an environment where I can share experiences and listen to others who have had similar experiences — plus, it’s much easier to connect with people if you have something in common,” Matthews reflected.

Jones agreed with her. “Students should participate in them because they encourage cooperation and help students push each other,” he commented.

Learning communities are one of many opportunities available to students, but those who decide to participate will find themselves in an environment where they are surrounded and supported by those who want them to flourish.