Flex Pace - Education that Fits You

Learning online enables you to attend College with a schedule that fits your life. You may attend in a traditional format with full-term classes, part-time with part-term 8-week classes, or a mix. As a part-time student you can attend and still graduate on time (18-24 months) by attending 8-week sessions.

What is an associate’s degree?

An associate degree is also called a two-year degree since they are earned by completing courses within a two-years when you are a full-time student. Typically, you complete 60 credit hours to earn an associate’s degree. Delgado Community College uses a semester system. There are two 16-week sessions, Fall and Spring. In addition, you may attend 8-week sessions at Delgado during the Summer.

What are some benefits and disadvantages of accelerating time to graduation as a part-time student?  

An accelerated program means more to do in less time. The pograms include the same number of courses with same number of readings and same amount of coursework as a traditional two-year program. The advatage is you graduate on time. Often, you spend less money. A disadvatage or challenge is that you may have less time for activities outside of your other life responsibilies (family and job). But, again, for a shorter time. In two years or less you have your degree. 

Remember, college is more challenging than high school. For example, college requires you to put much more effort in your learning than you did in high school. When you learn online, you need to be very motivated and self-disciplined about your schedule.  For every one hour of lecture per week, students should plan to study for at least two-three hours per week.  

What is a full-time student?

A full-time student enrolls for 15 credit hours per semester. For example, five 3-credit courses equal 15 credit hours. Programs that require 60 credit hours to complete are designed so that you may attend for two years (Fall, Spring, Fall, and Spring) then graduate. In the Fall 2019 semester, full-time enrollment was 34%. That means that 66% of our students were attending part-time.

Traditional Term Course Load 
5 courses x 3 credits = 15 credit hours per term

What is the typical time to graduate with a two-year degree from a Community College?

According to 2016 data, just over 34% of students enrolled to earn an associate degree graduate on time (within 2 years). There are many reasons for this including taking remedial courses or not seeking the advice of an academic advisor. Often, students who self-advise, take more courses than needed to complete their degree.

Percent of US students in 2-year institutions who graduate in 2, 3, and 4 years

Within 2-years, 14.7% of associate degree earners complete their degrees. Within 3-years, an additional 20.5 complete their degrees. For years 4, it is 15.4% and years 5-6 another 18.4%. After 6 years, 31.1% of 2-year degree seekers earn their degrees. The total number of students in the above sample was 419,317. 

Why might it take so long to earn a degree as a part-time student?

As stated earlier, a full-time student takes 5 courses per semester. Or, they may even take 4 courses each semester and classes in the summer. A part-time student might take 2 courses during the Fall semester, 2 during the Spring semester, and possibly 2 in the summer. That equals 6 courses x 3 credits for a total of 18 credit hours the first year. After year two, the student only potential earned 36 credits of the 60 required. They will earn fewer if they do not attend college during the Summer term.

How can a part time student accelerate their time to complete?

In order to graduate on time or more quickly, you need to complete (pass) the same number of courses within 2 years. One way to do this is to take 8-week rather than full-term (16-week) classes.

You might take 1 full-term course during the Fall semester and four (4) 8-week courses during the semester. That would be 5 courses x 3 credits for a total of 15 credit hours. Delgado offers Term A and Term B part-term sessions within the Fall and Spring semesters. Below is an example of the option stated above.

Accelerate Pace Term Course Load
Term A: 8-week course x 2
Term B: 8-week course X2
Full Term: 16-week course X 1
Total credit hours per term = 5 courses x 3 credit hours = 15 credit hours 

Or, perhaps you might complete five (5) 8-week courses in a semester. Attending during the summer lets you comfortably take only 2-courses at a time.

Participating in Developmental Education can further slow down the pace to degree completion

Over 70% of US students participating in remediation earn a degree in 5 years