Washington State Community College's upcoming fall "mini" semester is a big opportunity for students hoping to jump start their college career, say college officials.
"It's the same quality and level of college courses as a regular 16-week semester," said John Tigue, who is the vice president of Academic Affairs and helped initiate the program.
In contrast to regular semester classes, the courses are faster paced. Where a normal night class might meet for three hours once a week, the same class would meet for six hours a week, explained Tigue.
The eight-week mini semester, which begins Oct. 15, is an option for students who didn't meet the August enrollment deadline for the full 16-week fall semester, said Tigue.
"It is a great opportunity for people who have never been in a college environment. People who did not start their college journey in August, they can do so in October," he said.
As WSCC officially transitioned from a 10-week quarters schedule to 16-week semesters this year, the deadline for registering for fall classes moved up from September to August.
About the mini semester
Fall "mini" semester is eight weeks long, half as long as a regular semester.
Fourteen courses are being offered.
Four courses are being offered online.
Classes start Oct. 15
The official enrollment period is Oct. 1-7.
The mini semester, which will offer 17 sections, encompassing 13 different classes is currently in a pre-registration process. Financial aid counselors are helping each interested student determine what sort of financial aid would be available to them, said Tigue.
The classes, which cost $133 per credit hour plus applicable fees, range from one to four credit hours.
There are currently 15 students pre-registered. However, Tigue said he expects that number to grow significantly over the next month.
"I've had experience doing this at other colleges and it was very successful. Students really liked the idea of being able to complete courses in a shorter time frame," he said.
Beyond appealing to students who missed the August enrollment deadline, the shorter semester may be a good way to explore potential careers.
Molly Brady, 19, of New Matamoras, attended Marietta College last year, but did not know what career path she wanted to take.
She discovered the Medical Administrative Assistant program at WSCC and decided the fall mini semester would be a good way to test the waters.
"I just thought it would be a better way to figure out what I wanted to do at Washington State," said Brady.
Enrolled in the mini semester's online Introduction to Medical Terminology class, Brady said she sees the class as a good opportunity to help prepare her for a full course load in the spring semester.
Additional, the shorter time frame and online format will give Brady time for her job.
"I'm able to work at the same time and make money for my education," said Brady.
Though the semester is focused on new and transient students, current WSCC students could potentially overlap the mini semester with the current full 16-week fall semester, said Tigue.
Enrollment will continue through the first week of October. After that, WSCC will look at enrollment in each section to determine whether or not to run each class, said Tigue.