Iowa State University

Iowa State University

2009-2011 Courses and Programs

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Learning Communities

Learning communities are a university-wide initiative providing students the opportunity to connect with peers who have similar academic goals. Students in learning communities typically take one to three courses together and may live together (or near each other) in the same residence hall. Although many of the learning communities are focused on first-year students, opportunities are available for sophomores, juniors, and transfer students.

In addition to developing academic and social networks, advantages of joining a learning community include: getting to know people and making friends in your major or area of interest, getting to know faculty and staff members, making a smooth transition from high school to college, making connections between in-class and out-of-class learning, applying classroom learning to real world situations through hands-on experiences, exploring career opportunities, and having fun! Most learning communities employ an upper-division student as a peer mentor who organizes various activities for the students, ranging from study groups to social events. We have found that students in learning communities are more satisfied with their overall experience at Iowa State, earn higher first-term grades, are more likely to remain enrolled at Iowa State after one year, and are more likely to graduate.

First-year students are offered the opportunity to sign up for learning community courses during summer orientation. For learning communities that offer a residential living environment the sign up takes place online with the housing contract.

Any student interested in joining a learning community should contact the learning community coordinator for more information. A list of coordinators, along with current opportunities, can be found at