Students find academic support, friendships through Learning Communities

Published: November 30, 2016
Updated: December 01, 2016
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Freshmen at Auburn University can ease the transition to college by joining a Learning Community – a group designed to help students reach their maximum potential in their first year on campus.

Auburn’s Learning Communities consist of 19 students who share the same major, college or interdisciplinary topic. Students in a Learning Community take several classes together during their freshmen year, including one to three core curriculum classes, a First Year Seminar course that helps with the transition to college and an introductory course for their major.

“I loved the friendships I made from my Learning Community and having classes with people that I knew beforehand. I always hated walking in and thinking, ‘Okay I have to find a seat’ but then I’d see someone I knew and think, ‘Oh! I know you! You’re in that First Year Seminar class, let’s get to know each other better,’” Trea Archie, a junior majoring in psychology said.

Branden Farmer, coordinator of First Year Seminars and Learning Communities, emphasized the value of one-on-one time with the leaders of each group.

“It is typically, if the group interest-based, someone who is very passionate about that topic. If the group is major-based, [the leader] is a representative from the college or department and so you get one-on-one time once a week with someone from your college. That doesn’t usually happen a whole lot, especially as a freshman, and that’s so powerful,” he said.

Students find numerous other benefits to joining a Learning Community, too. Before arriving on the Plains for Camp War Eagle, students in Learning Communities are already preregistered for certain classes. For students who are undecided about their major, Learning Communities help students choose a major. The groups also allow opportunities to get to know faculty members and academic advisors, which helps students make connections within their college and explore careers in their field.

Bree Carter, a junior majoring in information systems management, said the friendships she made shaped the rest of her college experience.

“I’m a junior now and I’m still friends with those people. We still hang out and we still see each other everywhere. We still talk about our Learning Community and how we met, and we even spend summers together. It’s really cool to get those friends and have those friends for the rest of college,” she said.

Applications for Learning Communities open on AU Access each spring semester for the following fall semester and remain open until they are full. Sign-ups are also available at Camp War Eagle sessions. Spaces in Learning Communities are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

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