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It is common practice for students to submit an official transcript to document their academic achievements. But what about those achievements that happen outside the classroom?

Waubonsee Recognizes Student Life Department and Co-Curricular Transcripts as its Student Success: Institutional Stories

It is common practice for students to submit an official transcript to document their academic achievements. But what about those achievements that happen outside the classroom? Since 2007, Waubonsee Community College has been offering its students co-curricular transcripts so that they can demonstrate their leadership abilities to transfer schools, potential employers and others. This month, Waubonsee is proud to recognize co-curricular transcripts and the Student Life Department as its Student Success: Institutional Stories.

Co-curricular, or extracurricular, involvement brings many broad benefits to students, several of which coincide with qualities prospective employers are looking for. According to businessnewsdaily.com, employers are looking for such things as commitment, a positive attitude, the ability to wear many hats and passion. Some of these are best practiced and demonstrated outside the academic realm.

“I often refer to the activities outside the classroom as the learning laboratory,” said Waubonsee’s Student Life Manager Mary Tosch. “It is an opportunity for students to enhance or develop their skills in a safe environment where failure and learning is part of the process. These experiences outside the classroom are an opportunity to practice leadership skills such as conflict resolution, team building, goal setting, resource management, and networking. Many of these skills are useful for the larger world.”

Also useful is the ability to have documented proof of extracurricular involvement. That’s why Waubonsee introduced co-curricular transcripts in 2007. Any documented student involvement is verified by advisors rather than simply self-reported. A variety of involvement qualifies for inclusion on the co-curricular transcript: student clubs, organizations, athletics, honors and awards and other notable student activities. In fact, as opportunities have expanded and advisor awareness has grown, so too have the number of co-curricular notations earned by Waubonsee students. The introductory year of 2007 saw just 53 notations, while 2012 saw 635. This year has seen more than 1,000 notations so far.

But students don’t have to wait until they get out into the work world to reap the benefits of extracurricular involvement. It can impress transfer schools or scholarship providers. Plus, involvement often leads to higher grade point averages and a higher likelihood to stay in school and graduate. Waubonsee looked at the past two years of students who either had no co-curricular involvement or some co-curricular involvement. The involved students averaged a 3.33 cumulative GPA -- .76 points higher than the non-involved students. The involved students also averaged 11.41 completed credit hours their first semester vs. 5.75 for the uninvolved students.