What is a Living Learning Community? - Colleges of Distinction
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What is a Living Learning Community?


Living Learning Communities (LLCs) are residential programs that allow you to connect with diverse groups of students who share a common focus. Students live together and participate in shared courses, special events and service projects as a group. LLCs are sponsored by various academic departments, and are designed to foster academic and personal growth. As more colleges and universities introduce LLCs, the possibilities are expanding for these unique housing initiatives, where collaboration and learning extend beyond the classroom.

Why should I participate?

Research suggests that participation in a Living Learning Community leads to increased academic engagement and satisfaction with college experiences. This is even true for students at larger institutions, where Living Learning Communities can make a campus feel smaller and more accessible. Many LLCs are open to first year students, which can help make the transition from high school to college more comfortable. Students involved in an LLC enjoy a built-in network of friends with shared passions and interests.

What kinds of Living Learning Communities are available?

Living Learning Communities vary from campus to campus, but you’ll find almost every topic imaginable, including sustainable living, science and engineering, social justice, global studies, and leadership. Languages and shared cultures are also common themes among LLCs. Some communities are devoted to a specific language like Spanish, French, Mandarin or Japanese. In other cases, an LLC will focus on culture, offering residence opportunities for students who are Native American, African-American and Latino. There are also communities for first-year students, transfers, and honors students. Some colleges and universities even allow students to design their own LLCs, which can include everything from electronic music to plant-based eating!

How is living in a Living Learning Community different from traditional student housing?

The goal of a Living Learning Community is to help you engage intellectually outside the classroom. Typically each community gathers weekly for discussions or workshops related to their topic. Dinners, lectures, presentations about off-campus experiences, and social service projects are all part of the living learning experience. You’ll live on the same floor or in the same house as other students in the LLC, so they’ll be your neighbors and your classmates.

These communities are a great way to connect with students and faculty who share your passions. You’ll also have the opportunity to broaden your horizons, while acting as a member of a vibrant and collaborative living learning experience.

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Madison Dopkiss

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Madison Dopkiss

I am a graduate of Saint Mary’s, an all-women’s college in Notre Dame, Indiana. Saint Mary’s taught me the importance of ambition and gave me a student-focused, cross-cultural education. My professors were directly involved in my experience, and I received individualized attention in all of my courses. Most importantly, SMC prepared for success in all my endeavors, both personal and professional.

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