Georgia Highlands College is putting working adults on the fast track to an associate’s degree.
Next fall, GHC will launch Nights, Online and Weekends, a new accelerated degree program crafted specifically for working adult learners who want to earn an associate’s degree in business administration.
The pilot program, which will start on the Cartersville campus fall semester 2016, will give adult students flexible class scheduling that will include evening, hybrid and online courses.
“I’m very excited that GHC will be offering this pathway,” NOW Coordinator Maria Lauro said. “There are a lot of wonderful opportunities that the NOW program offers working adults who are looking for career mobility.”
Designed to be completed in two years, the program will offer courses on an accelerated eight-week format, which will include routine advising, periodic check-ins/coaching and access to the college’s tutorial center, to ensure students meet their goals, Lauro said.
“Instructors will be trained in best practices for the adult learner,” she said. “Students will be given individualized attention and will participate in periodic consultations with the NOW coordinator. Tutorial and library services are also available.”
Students can take up to 18 credit hours per semester, but they can choose to complete the program at a slower pace, if they want, she said.
“During the first semester, students will attend classes on campus two evenings a week,” she said. “For the subsequent semesters, students will attend classes on campus one day a week. The program was designed to acclimate the adult learner to the accelerated format. The accelerated format is an eight-week course rotation with 75 percent hybrid and online courses.”
The program, which easily transitions to University System of Georgia four-year business degree programs, will include all courses required to receive an associate degree in business administration: core classes in English, science and math as well as business courses in economics, business administration and accounting.
“Personally, as someone who graduated from an adult accelerated evening program, I can foresee how important this program will be for the working adult student in obtaining their degree,” Lauro said. “The accelerated format, evening courses and the online format are all great ways for the working student to fit education into their busy schedule. Completion of the NOW program will position students for career mobility.”
An associate’s degree in business was chosen because it’s “right for Georgia Highlands College NOW,” according to the program proposal.
“Since this program is targeted for working adults looking for mobility in their careers, a business degree would offer the most versatility,” Lauro said. “The NOW program is currently offering an Associate of Science that enables students to transfer into a Bachelor of Science in business administration. It’s a wonderful way for working adults to earn a degree with the most flexibility. It also positions them to go farther in their career and education.”
The cost also makes the program attractive for working adults.
“The difference between most accelerated evening programs and NOW at GHC is the cost,” Lauro said. “Students at GHC can get their entire associate degree for around $7,300.”
Students must meet the following qualifications to enter the program, according to the GHC website: work more than 20 hours a week, be older than 24 or possess other qualifiers such as veteran status or having more than two years of full-time work experience with a letter of petition and have the ability to easily access technology.
Lauro said she’s already seeing a lot of interest in the program from adult learners.
“I’m loving it,” she said. “I have been surprised at the number of emails and phone calls that I have received in such a short amount of time since we launched the program.”