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    What Are Living Learning Communities?

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    and Kira Ranieri

    Kira is a content writer at Scholarships360. Kira earned a Bachelor of Media and Journalism with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: January 24th, 2024
    What Are Living Learning Communities?

    As a college student, you’ll probably encounter a host of opportunities to immerse yourself in your learning. Some of the most immersive of these options are living learning communities, also sometimes called “themed housing.” These communities allow you to gain real-world experience in subjects you’re interested in. These may relate to your major, or might just be in line with your interests. Living learning communities are a great way to learn in college outside of the classroom.

    Let’s break down everything you need to know about living learning communities. We’ll start off with a general definition of the idea, followed by some examples. Then, we’ll point you in the right direction to finding living learning communities at your college. To close things out, we’ll give you a pros and cons list for getting involved with a living learning community.

    Also see: How to pay for housing

    What is a living learning community?

    Living learning communities, or LLCs, are programs that can vary widely across colleges, but the main idea is to have students live together who all share a common interest. That can be anything, ranging from a field of academics, a sport, a hobby, or service work. Students who live together in an LLC work, study, and learn together. It can be a great complement to your classroom education.

    As a member of an LLC, you’ll learn about your common field of interest, but you’ll also learn to work closely with your peers. It’s a great way to gain leadership experience at a young age. Because these organizations are typically small and student-run, you’ll end up in a much more involved role than you would at a typical job. You can learn valuable lessons from this experience, and it will be a big asset if you apply for leadership positions post-graduation.

    Related: How to get involved on campus

    Examples of living learning communities

    Living learning communities can vary widely at each school, so make sure to check out your school’s opportunities if you don’t see anything that catches your interest here. But to show you some examples, we have a brief list of LLCs at Boston University:

    • Earth House – focused on sustainability and environmental issues
    • Global House – focused on foreign language proficiency
    • Kirkland Honors House – participants in an honors program
    • Core Curriculum Floor – students enrolled in the college of arts and sciences curriculum
    • Music House – students majoring or minoring in music
    • Women in Science and Engineering Floor – Female students who are studying a STEM field
    • Classics House – students studying classics at the university

    Finding living learning communities at your college

    To look for living learning communities at your college, try your college’s office of residential life. You can check their website or reach out to them via email or in-person. They should have a list of all the official living learning communities at your school. You can also try attending an activities fair or talking to upperclassmen who are available as counseling resources.

    It’s also worth noting that some campuses may have informal living learning communities. There may be off-campus houses that have been rented by students historically aligned over an interest. These may be harder to find through your college institutions. Try speaking to people who share that interest with you in order to get the scoop.

    Don’t miss: How to create a budget as a college student

    Why you should live in themed housing

    Themed housing is a great opportunity to get real-world experience in college. It’s a good chance to try your hand at leadership positions to see if you like it. It can also be a great way to make friends and balance your academics with some more hands-on work.

    LLCs also create strong bonds between their participants. These can be valuable for years to come; you might even find a job through graduates of your LLC. People who have gone through the LLC program and value its education will try to hire employees who also went through the program.

    Also see: How to find roommates

    Pros and cons

    Pros Cons
    Opportunities to learn outside the classroom Might distract from your classroom learning
    A great way to bond with classmates Could impede on your independence
    Building teamwork skills Can easily become a difficult situation to live in if you don’t get along with your LLC peers
    Can be a great addition to a resume Might impede on time that you could spend gaining other resume skills
    A unique opportunity to bring learning to your home life Could prevent you from living with your friends who don’t share your LLC interest
    Taps you into a potential alumni network  

    Additional resources for college students

    As you work your way through college, remember to enjoy yourself and immerse yourself in your studies while preparing for your future. College is a great time to learn how to make a budget and save money. You can also earn some money in college through side hustles and online tutoring jobs. Don’t forget to look for internships to help make the post-college job search a bit easier for yourself.

    All that being said, remember to enjoy your time! College only comes around once, and you should enjoy it to the fullest.

    Key takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • Living learning communities (LLCs) can be a great opportunity for college students to meet new people with similar interests. 
    • Many colleges have LLCs for specific majors, so you can enhance your education outside of the classroom.
    • LLCs can look great on a resume, as they allow you to work with your peers in a more involved capacity than other student jobs typically would. 
    • To see if there are any LLCs at your college, you can check out their office of residential life, their website, or just reach out via email or in-person

     

    Frequently asked questions about living learning communities 

    What if my school doesn’t have any LLCs?

    If your initial search for an LLC at your college doesn’t yield any results, try reaching out directly to your school, as sometimes schools have slightly different names for what is essentially an LLC. For example, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, they refer to their program as Residential Learning Programs (RLPs)

    If there aren’t any residential or traditional LLCs at your college, then check out an extracurricular fair to see about joining clubs or work study programs that fall within your interests.

    Is it more expensive to live in a Living Learning Community than regular residential housing options?

    Many colleges and universities have different options for on-campus housing, such as dormitories, fraternity or sorority housing, and university housing. You should check with your schools on-campus living options in order to compare prices.

    Can I live in a Living Learning Community as a first year student?

    This mainly depends on your college. Some colleges are more strict about first year students living in on-campus housing, such as dormitories, than others. Georgetown University, for example, has LLCs specifically for first years. If you are thinking about living at an LLC as a first year, make sure you keep up to date with application deadlines, as some schools have earlier deadlines for first year students than upperclassmen.

    If I join a Living Learning Community, do I have to stay in it for the rest of college?

    Nope! Most college LLCs are only one year commitments, so if you do participate and realize it’s not the best fit for you, then you don’t have any obligation to recommit. While many LLCs have courses connected to the program, not being in one shouldn’t inhibit you from receiving your degree.

    If my college doesn’t have an LLC that I am interested in, is it possible for me to start one?

    Many colleges and universities are open to suggestions for new LLC programs. While many aspects go into an LLC that might prevent it from popping up overnight, why not get the ball rolling? It never hurts to take initiative and reach out to your university’s residential office to see!

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