FAQ Table of Contents

  1. What is a First-Year Community?
  2. What is the difference between Theme Communities, Living-Learning Communities and Learning Communities?
  3. How do I know what English classes to take?
  4. What if I have AP credit for English?
  5. How do I apply for a community?
  6. How would I know which community I am enrolled for?
  7. If I submitted a housing application, then do I not need to submit another application to participate in a community?
  8. Is there any extra cost for joining a community?
  9. CI is offering 11 different communities, how do I decide which one is best for me?
  10. Is joining a community required for students?
  11. What if only one community fits my interests?
  12. Do I have to choose more classes than those associated with the Living-Learning or Learning Community that I enroll in?
  13. Can I enroll in any section of a course that is listed as part of a Community?
  14. What if my intellectual interests are in a Living-Learning Community but I am a commuter or will be living in housing but not on the LLC floor?

What is a First-Year Community?

First Year Freshmen have a variety of options to support academic success and integration into the life of the university, both inside and outside of the classroom, through First-Year Communities aligned with CI’s Mission Pillars. Participating in these communities is shown to improve student learning, persistence to the second year, time to graduation, and stronger relationships with peers and faculty. Our goal is student success. There is no additional cost to participating in these communities.

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What is the difference between Theme Communities, Living-Learning Communities and Learning Communities?

Theme Communities allow students with common interests to build community and engage in extra-curricular activities without a required class. Students are housed together on campus.

Both Living-Learning and Learning Communities have two or more General Education courses in the Fall intentionally chosen to be paired for the purposes of student success and aligning with topics associated with the CI Mission Pillars. The student must take all the courses (in specific sections) that are part of the specific Learning Community to be part of the program. Living-Learning Communities require students to also live in on-campus housing. Learning Communities do not required students to live on-campus. Some Living-Learning and Learning Communities also have common classes in the Spring.

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How do I know what English classes to take?

Students should visit the Directed Self Placement (DSP) page on the Composition Program website to determine whether to enroll in the one semester accelerated course (ENGL 105) or the year-long Stretch Composition Sequence (ENGL 102 and ENGL 103). The page contains a link to our DSP Handbook, which outlines the options available to students and offers guidance to help students place themselves in first year composition.

Students who enroll in ENGL 105 are expected to immediately begin conducting research in academic databases and integrating multiple scholarly sources into argumentative and persuasive writing. Students who enroll in Stretch Composition will begin in ENGL 102 by focusing on developing a number of thinking and writing strategies – including invention, pre-writing, drafting, peer review, revising, and editing – before delving into research-intensive argumentative and persuasive assignments in ENGL 103.

All composition students submit midterm and final portfolios of their writing. These are assessed by members of the composition faculty other than a student’s classroom teacher. The portfolio scores determine the bulk of a student’s course grade. Students must pass the portfolios in order to pass the class. The Composition Program website includes additional information on Holistic Team Scoring of student portfolios.

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What if I have AP credit for English?

There are First-Year Communities that are not linked to English, choose one of them.

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How do I apply for a community?

Placement in any First-Year Community that involves housing as well the non-residential STEM Success Community is done through the Student Housing Application. Priority is given for housing Communities to students who submit a completed housing application by May 7th (which is also the day the housing application is due).

For most non-residential Learning Communities, there is no application. Self-enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. For the STEM Success Integrative Learning Community, students need to complete the Intent to Participate Form.

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How would I know which community I am enrolled for?

Once you have applied, the organizer of housing Living-Learning Community and Theme Communities will follow-up if you have been accepted before Island View Orientation. For the STEM Success Integrative Learning Community, you will be informed via email if you have been accepted. For non-residential Learning Communities, self-enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis.

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If I submitted a housing application, then do I not need to submit another application to participate in a community?

For Theme and Living-Learning Communities, be sure to fill out the First-Year Communities page within the Housing application.

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Is there any extra cost for joining a community?

There are no additional costs. There may be activities for which a cost may be incurred, but whenever this is the case the participation will be optional.

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CI is offering numerous different communities, how do I decide which one is best for me?

Research shows that students who participate in a community experience greater levels of student success - so we commend your interest in participating in a community! You should consider questions such as:

"Am I interested/willing to commit to the coursework that is part of the learning community?" "Would I like to connect with other students around this learning focus or theme?" "Do I have a specific person that I'd like to live with and, if so, which communities are they considering?"

For those students in housing, although we believe that living on campus is any room assignment provides a well-rounded experience, we know that your engagement in a learning community or theme community is likely to aid your academic and personal success and engagement as a student at CI.

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Is joining a community required for students?

Signing up for or participating in a community is not required, but it is highly recommended. Presently, space is limited in these communities, so if you don't get into one, we hope you will take full advantage of other academic and co-curricular opportunities for engagement at CI - committed involvement in academics and campus life also contribute to student success. In particular, watching out for programs and events offered by the Mission-based Centers (Center for Multicultural Engagement, Center for International Affairs, Center for Integrative Studies and Center for Community Engagement) and Student Affairs events is highly recommended. Being in a community is a way to engage actively at CI, but they are not the only ways to engage.

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What if only one community fits my interests?

Students are not obligated to apply for communities, and those that choose to do so may only find one they are interested in. That's OK - just apply for the one you are interested in. You are encouraged, however, to consider other possibilities since space is limited to increase your chances of being selected to participate in one.

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Do I have to choose more classes than those associated with the Living-Learning or Learning Community that I enroll in?

Yes, you will need to choose more courses. The courses for Living-Learning Communities and Learning Communities are not a full-load of classes, which is 15 units. You will have the opportunity to round out your schedule during Island View Orientation to be ready for your Enrollment Appointment on July 6th.

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Can I enroll in any section of a course that is listed as part of a Community?

No, you must be enrolled in specific sections of each course in the Community, along with rest of the students in your cohort. The courses are linked together in the registration system, dropping one of them will trigger dropping the other(s).

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What if my intellectual interests are in a Living-Learning Community but I am a commuter or will be living in housing but not on the LLC floor?

Late in the registration process, a few seats in LLCs may be made available for non-housing students. If you are interested in being on a wait list for LLC courses, contact marie.francois@csuci.edu, who will contact you and inform the Registrar's Office to add you should there be space.

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