New eight-week schedule to increase student focus and success | ECTC

New eight-week schedule to increase student focus and success

Published on Feb 3, 2021

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College will transition to an eight-week class schedule, allowing students to focus on fewer classes at a time and be more successful. Beginning in Fall 2021, 8-Week Advantage reorganizes the academic calendar into five eight-week sessions. The fall and spring semesters will have two eight-week sessions, and one eight-week session will be offered in the summer.

“8-Week Advantage is about student success. Other colleges and universities that have transitioned to shorter sessions overwhelmingly have improved engagement, grades and graduation rates,” said ECTC Interim Chief Academic Officer Darrin Powell. “Those gains are largely a result of students being able to focus on fewer classes at a time.”

For example, during a traditional 16-week semester, a full-time student typically takes five three-credit-hour courses, earning a total of 15 credits. With 8-Week Advantage, that student will take two or three classes per eight-week session. The student will focus on fewer classes at a time and earn the same 15 credit hours. Over the course of the semester, the average time devoted to their classes will not change.

College leaders noted additional advantages for students. Research shows students and professors form stronger connections as they spend more time together in a shorter timeframe. Also, depending on the specific classes new students want to take, they could start college in August, October, January, March or June.

“This is a unique, meaningful change that helps ensure all our students succeed,” said ECTC President Dr. Juston Pate. “From new high school grads to working adults who are going to college and raising families, students have an opportunity to concentrate on fewer subjects at a time and get closer to their goals every eight weeks.”

About 95 percent of classes will transition to 8-Week Advantage. Exceptions include classes with clinical or internship requirements that cannot be completed in eight weeks.

8-Week Advantage will not affect the amount of financial aid students receive including the Pell Grant, Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), Work Ready Kentucky Scholarship and other scholarships. Financial aid is based on the number of credit hours taken per semester (two eight-week sessions). Therefore, students who intend to take classes during both eight-week sessions will enroll in both sessions at the same time. Tuition will continue to be based on credit hour as well.

Fall 2021 enrollment begins in March. Applications are accepted year-round and can be completed for free.

ECTC will host a live 8-Week Advantage Q&A on its Facebook page from 4 to 5 p.m. Feb. 18 and 11 a.m. to noon Feb. 22.