By Dr. Christine Sobek
Daily Herald correspondent
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Those unfamiliar with community colleges are often surprised when they learn about the diverse extracurricular activities available to students.
Students are very involved in athletic teams, student clubs, honor societies, performing arts opportunities and professional organizations that combine to form a well-rounded student life.
Active students not only have a more enjoyable college experience, but they also graduate with tangible leadership and team-building skills that will serve them well throughout other educational journeys and careers.
In the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2012 report, employers ranked the influence of key attributes they seek when making hiring decisions. Those attributes topping the list include GPA, "has held leadership position," and "has been involved in extracurricular activities." Other key attributes consistently identified in this annual survey include the ability to work in a team and communication skills.
At most four-year colleges, students in their freshman or sophomore years rarely have the opportunity to take a leadership role in student clubs or government. At a community college, the chance is there for students to get involved from day one. Leadership opportunities are open to all.
Waubonsee Community College has a strong track record of student leadership and involvement. Throughout the Fox Valley, in every community we serve, Waubonsee alumni hold leadership positions in government, business, health care, criminal justice and other industries. While at Waubonsee, these individuals learned the building blocks of leadership by participating in student government, starting new clubs and working with their classmates to make their time at Waubonsee count.
Several times a year, Waubonsee alumni are recognized at one of the monthly board of trustees meetings. Their stories are truly unique and inspirational. While many started their careers immediately upon graduation, many others have pursued bachelors, masters, doctorates, medical or other advanced degrees. When interviewed, each of these alumni has mentioned the important role Waubonsee has played in their success.
Recently, a Waubonsee Community College alumnus and former student of Associate Professor of Communications John Bitterman wrote to him on the eve of completing his bachelor's degree with a 4.0 grade-point average. He thanked Professor Bitterman for not just changing his life but changing the lives of thousands of other students. Stories like these illustrate the many ways Waubonsee's faculty and staff help students on their path to success.
While the learning that takes place in the classroom provides the solid foundation for future success, the learning that students experience outside of the classroom provides the extra boost needed to accomplish truly incredible things personally and professionally.
Waubonsee is committed to delivering world-class opportunities throughout the student experience. This commitment has resulted in unparalleled student outcomes for nearly five decades and promises to continue as we develop a new generation capable of leading the Fox Valley into the future.
Dr. Christine Sobek is president of Waubonsee Community College.