Itawamba Community College class helps students adjust to higher education

FULTON – Itawamba Community College is offering a class to help students with the transition from high school to college.
The school’s “College Life” class is dedicated to helping freshmen master the study secrets and time-management skills they need to be successful in higher education. The class is mandatory for all students living in the dorm with an ACT score below 17. Many students who live off campus or who made higher ACT scores also chose to take the one-hour course.
Twelve sections of the class are being offered this semester, and 244 students currently are enrolled.
“A big thing is we try to make the transition to higher education as smooth as possible,” said Cathy McCarthy, ICC’s Disability Support Services Coordinator who teaches three sections of the class.
“As soon as they hit the sacred ground of ICC, we want them to make some good habits and make sure they start that pattern of lifelong good choices.
“If they get here and they struggle from the very beginning, they’re not going to see it through, get that diploma and transfer on to another place. We want them to know what resources are available.”
The class follows a text designed specifically for ICC. It focuses on different learning styles and how students can have more success by knowing their learning style. It gives students tips on studying for big tests like midterms and finals and about preparing differently for multiple choice, discussion or listening tests.
Students also learn tricks for improving their memories and for using their time between classes.
“We learn about our weaknesses and work on improving them,” said ICC freshman Courtney Philpot of Tupelo. “It also gives us information about a lot of clubs that we’d like to join. It lets you know what kind of stuff you’re interested in.”
Some class periods are devoted to campus life and to where students can go for different services.
“When I got in this class, it helped me out a whole lot,” said freshman Jeremy Sessom of Byhalia.
Each section meets once a week for 50 minutes. Students don’t take tests, but are graded on completing five different activities.
They must journal often, keep a regular monthly calendar, complete a “discovery wheel” that provides an inventory of their strengths and weaknesses, turn in eight study cards and log two pages of notes taken according to a specific style. When keeping their planner, students are also given dates for campus life activities.
“Student success is very important, and we want them to progress from semester to semester,” said Emily Tucker, an academic adviser at ICC who is teaching six sections of the class.
“I’ve found time management to be a big topic. If they manage their time well, it plays into a lot of different areas.”
McCarthy said the class also will teach the students about becoming adults.
“They couldn’t wait to be 18 and on their own, but now they own the choices they make, and it can affect them for the rest of their life,” she said.

Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal