Virginia Western Community College announces new options this Spring Semester for students seeking to earn a degree while balancing priorities to their work, families and life in general.  Full-Time Fridays will give those students the opportunity to earn an Associate of Science Degree in General Studies in just two years through on-campus courses on Fridays only. In addition, Virginia Western is greatly expanding its distance-learning (online) opportunities through a partnership with Northern Virginia Community College’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI).

“We have consistently offered night, weekend and online classes to accommodate many of our working students, but we have found that for some, that still doesn’t mean they can attend,” said Elizabeth Wilmer, Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. “They may have childcare issues in the evenings and they may not wish to spend their weekends in the classroom after a long week of work. And some students learn better by being in a classroom than by working online. Now, they can have a set schedule of on-campus classes for one day a week and coordinate with their employers to make a college education possible.”

With Full-Time Fridays, students will be able to take all their courses from 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and still be able to manage obligations to their work, family and themselves. The typical course load of 62 credit hours will be spread over Spring and Fall semesters for two years. Full-Time Fridays students will complete a set of required and elective courses like any other Virginia Western student, and tuition costs will be identical.

The Full-Time Fridays concept was the brainchild of Dr. Tresia Samani, Virginia Western’s Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. Samani implemented a similar option at Rappahannock Community College.

“We found this route to be an immediate success with students and with employers,” she said. “Students who were working full-time were able to create alternate schedules and graduate in two years. It was a win-win because students were able increase their earning potential without getting behind financially, and employers were able develop a more skilled workforce.”

Students can begin enrolling in Full-Time Fridays for the Spring Semester on Monday, and the first day of Friday classes will be Jan. 13, 2012. For more information about enrolling in Full-Time Fridays, visit: http://www.virginiawestern.edu/academics/fridays.php.  To meet with an advisor to discuss your path to a college degree, call (540) 857-7237 or visit Chapman Hall, Room 105 during the office hours of 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Monday-Thursday or 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday.

The new distance learning courses will also be available for Spring Semester registration, providing a broader choice of career and educational content for students. Especially beneficial will be a wide range of foreign language classes that have been previously unavailable such as Mandarin and French. Students will register and pay for the courses through Virginia Western, and professors from ELI will teach them. Virginia Western will have a special assistant in distance learning to provide support to students and ensure success. For more information on Spring Semester classes, visit: http://www.virginiawestern.edu/classes/index.php.

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