The transition to college is challenging for most freshmen — and finding your way in a large school like Temple can feel quite overwhelming.
One program designed to make that transition easier are living learning communities. “We take the first-year seminar that all incoming students take and embed it in the residential life experience,” explains Michele O’Connor, associate vice provost for undergraduate studies at Temple. “It provides a community to support the transition to the university experience.”
Laura Randolph, Temple’s assistant director for residential life, agrees. “College is scary enough,” she says. “If you know going in that these people share your interests, it eases the transition. You don’t have to figure out what you have in common.” Most of the programs are fairly small, with 25 to 70 students, so all the students can live on one or two floors of a dorm together.
In addition to getting students oriented to Temple, the LLCs introduce students to what Philadelphia has to offer. “We can use the whole city as part of the learning experience,” O’Connor says. “We can show students how to apply their interests directly to an urban context.” Performing arts students will visit the Kimmel Center; leadership students might go to City Hall. “This brings what they’re learning alive in real-world context,” O’Connor emphasizes.
How they work
Academic-based LLCs are arranged by major. Temple has LLCs for people studying music and dance, engineering, business, art and communications; there’s also a group for undecided majors and an LLC for students in the honors program, regardless of major.
Other students choose a theme-based LLC. These include communities committed to leadership, community service, global learning, sustainability and healthy lifestyles. Students in these communities represent a variety of majors and schools within the university.