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College Experience Enhanced Further for Off-Campus Students


At Pennsylvania College of Technology, which will open a new residence hall this fall, students who commute to class still represent the largest percentage of enrollees. Helping those students get the most out of their college experience remains a top priority for the institution.

“Just over 25 percent of our 6,500 students live in on-campus residence halls,” explained Elliott Strickland, interim chief student affairs officer. “The vast majority of our students are considered “˜commuter students,’ with approximately 50 percent of our students living in rental properties just off campus and 25 percent commuting from home.”

While Penn College has maintained a significant focus on off-campus students for many years, services and programs provided for those students will be enhanced even further in the 2010-11 academic year. The biggest change is the creation of a full-time staff position focused solely on off-campus and commuter students.

Katie L. Mackey, coordinator of off-campus student housing, began her responsibilities on July 1 and has already begun helping students.

“I am perhaps most excited about the one-on-one relationships I will develop with students, helping them grow and succeed in some of the most integral and impressionable years of their lives,” Mackey said. “I think we are just beginning to scratch the surface in making our commuter students feel more “˜at home’ and connected to Penn College.”

Penn College will provide a new dedicated space on campus this fall specifically for commuter students. The Commuter Lounge, located in the Bush Campus Center, provides a comfortable site where students can go before, between or after classes to socialize, study or just rest.

“Commuter lounges provide commuter students a place of their own,” Mackey explained. “With almost 1,600 students commuting from home, we expect this to be an extremely popular resource.”

The Commuter Lounge offers study tables, comfortable furniture, computer and Internet access, and an information center, and it’s centrally located to the college’s dining units.

This year was also the first in which Penn College’s summer orientation program, “Connections,” offered a special session for commuter students and their parents.

“We know that college students who are living at home with parents or other family members face diverse issues,” Mackey said. “This session allowed us to focus on those areas prior to students arriving on campus. Our hope is that the transition to college while remaining at home is as positive as possible for these students.”

For more information on Penn College, visit online , e-mail or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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