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Winter 2011 | Archives

College. Just the word can be intimidating for some. Thoughts of a new environment where you don't know anyone and classes are bound to be harder than high school. How will you get through it?

The answer for many is joining a learning community–supportive, cooperative environments where students take clusters of courses as a group. Learning communities create an engaged social network of students that bring the same social energy to the classroom and beyond. They provide opportunities for students to connect right away with the students in their classes and also with instructors and advisors.

Passport students At MCC, one such learning community is the Passport Program. This program is geared toward students who are planning to begin with MCC and transfer directly to a four-year institution after one or two years.

During year one at MCC, groups of 20–25 students go through each class together to complete a portion of their general education requirements. This allows the students to bond with each other and develop a level of comfort early on in their college career. During the year they also receive special advising on how to transfer to a four-year institution.

Following the completion of their Passport year, students complete an exit interview and universally agree that the learning community made college more comfortable. Shelby Brabec is one such student. Brabec completed her Passport year at the Elkhorn Valley Campus.

"The Passport Program is actually really nice. You're with a group of students the entire year, and you get all your general eds out of the way. I made a lot of friends. We're still friends. We're best friends. I never probably would have met them without Passport. I know now that I make friends in my other classes, but not as easily because I'm not with them all the time. It definitely made classes a lot easier...and homework."

Passport students New this year, Passport students have the opportunity to complete the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment. This assessment provides yet another leg up in the students' college careers by being able to hone in on their strengths and how these shape their educational/work habits. The students will participate in a workshop to talk about what the strengths mean and how to leverage these talents and develop them.

To join the Passport Program, students need to apply with an MCC advisor. For more information, visit www.mccneb.edu/passport.

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