Non-Traditional Ways to Earn a College Degree
Between a job, family responsibilities, volunteering, taking care of a home and lawn, many find it impossible to take the classes needed to earn a college degree.
For decades Sandhills Community College has offered evening classes, but sometimes there isn't even enough time for a night class. And what about transportation costs? Driving out to the campus three to five days a week can be quite expensive.
With the advent of Internet technology, gone are long-held notions of when and where one can attend college classes. And the time frame it takes to complete a course has even changed. Ten-week courses as opposed to a 16-week semester, classes at home or anywhere there is a computer, Saturday and evening classes - these are the new norm.
Sandhills offers a "mini-mester" each fall and spring semester. These 10-week curriculum (college-credit) courses move at a faster pace while offering full semester credit hours.
Students currently enrolled in classes at Sandhills can pick up additional credits each semester. Qualified high school students can enrich their college applications with proven college credits. Those currently in the workplace can maximize their home computers by working toward a degree through transferable online offerings at any hour of the day.
The 2011 fall mini-mester will begin on Sept. 21. Registration will be on Sept. 19 through the start of classes on Sept. 21.
In order to ensure student success, a maximum of two classes can be taken per semester.
New Sandhills students will need to apply and take the placement assessment prior to registering and current or returning students can simply register on the given dates.
A complete list of fall mini-mester classes is available at www.sandhills.edu.
Sandhills Community College provides online classes for busy, cost-conscious students. Commonly referred to as distance learning, Sandhills offers almost 150 online classes each semester.
Online classes are classes taken from any computer with Internet access. Students can roll out of bed in the morning and attend class in their bathrobe, without worrying about brushing their hair or ironing clothes. Night owls do their course-work in the middle of the night.
The successful student is generally self-motivated, enjoys reading, and has a good understanding of how to use word processing software and a computer.
The major difference between an online and traditional classroom course is the delivery method.
Instead of listening to a lecture, students read it and type in questions and answers. To some, that may sound like an isolated way to attend college, but students actually engage in plenty of interaction.
Instructors, for instance, post questions on discussion boards, which provide opportunity to communicate and respond to other students electronically. Some students actually find they get more attention with an online course because of the opportunity to interact with instructors through email. Lots of students who may not speak up in class may find it easier to answer or ask a question.
There is a great deal more individual responsibility placed on students who take courses online. Much of the course content is text-based, so if one doesn't like to read a computer monitor, perhaps an online class isn't the best option.
Flexibility doesn't equate to self-paced learning - a common misconception. Students are still required to keep up with regular semester schedules and course objectives.
Hybrid classes are when traditional classroom instruction is merged with online distance learning to create a whole new college experience.
Students generally come to class on campus once a week. Outside of class they engage in online discussions or work on assignments similar to online classes.
Because so much learning takes place on their own time, when students meet in class they tend to delve deeper into the material, ask more pertinent questions and explore ideas more thoroughly with their instructor.
Last semester, the college offered 167 hybrid classes.
The Sandhills Community College Evening Hybrid program offers a sensible, economical and family-friendly approach for students who plan to transfer to a four-year university. A transfer core diploma or an associate in arts degree can be earned during the evening.
This sort of program saves students substantial fuel costs because there are only two trips to campus each week. Plus, the program allows individuals who are employed during the day to attend classes in the evening.
Because classes run only two nights a week, families benefit.
Complete information about the evening hybrid program can be found on the college website under the university studies section of programs and majors.
Similarly, Sandhills offers a variety of general education/transferable hybrid courses that meet one Saturday each month during the fall and spring semesters. Students complete the rest of their work online during the remainder of each month during the semester.
Online Associate in Arts
Sandhills Community College has also made it possible for students to earn an associate in arts degree almost entirely online. The only course students may need to come to the campus and take is a physical education course. A few of the physical education courses at the college are offered on a single weekend.
Complete information about the online associate in arts and all other program can be found on the college website under the programs and majors section.
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