Unprecedented times, extraordinary opportunities: don’t wait to continue your education


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all had to adapt to a changing world. Parents have been forced to learn how to homeschool their children — or at the very least keep them focused on remote learning.

Workers have had to adapt to new ways of doing their jobs — and that’s for the lucky ones. Others had to navigate unemployment or find a new place to work. And everyone was required to learn the new rules of keeping ourselves and our families safe during these unprecedented times.

Amid all of these challenges caring for others or undertaking a job search often takes precedence over their personal and professional goals. To some extent, this is understandable: if you’re ill, caring for a sick loved one, or you’ve lost your job, other priorities may need to be put on hold. Sometimes, however, it is when we are most put to the test that we find the best opportunities for personal growth.

This is why Ivy Tech Community College is committed to providing students many safe ways to continue toward their educational goals. We know that everyone’s circumstances are different and that flexibility is critical. As a result, we offer in-person (socially distanced and masks), virtual, online and blended courses. We even offer Learn Anywhere in which students can choose week to week to be in-person, virtual or online. Meeting students where there are is important to us, especially during these pandemic times.

We also now offer a majority of our courses in an eight-week term which has proven to be much more successful for adult learners. Not only do students complete faster, new students start in nearly every eight weeks. Our next term begins October 26.

A wide variety of students can benefit from eight-week classes:

Those who are unemployed and want to train for a new career quickly. Eight-week courses allow students to train for a new career in less than a year. And as part of Indiana’s Next Level Jobs Program, the Workforce Ready Grant pays for tuition and regularly-assessed fees for qualifying certificates at Ivy Tech. It’s a rare opportunity to receive a free education in a field where high wage, high demand jobs exist.

Guest students attending another college or university. Guest students can take classes at Ivy Tech while enrolled at another school. Eight-week classes allow students to earn credits while on a break from their primary institution, to satisfy degree requirements when a specific class is unavailable at their primary institution, or to increase the number of credits they earn in a given time period. This allows them to accelerate their progress toward graduation and — given Ivy Tech’s position as the most affordable college in the state — save a considerable amount of money.

Those who missed the traditional semester start but don’t want to wait until January to enroll. While 16-week classes may still be a good choice for many students, Ivy Tech’s eight-week classes give students the option of getting started more quickly. In addition, our research shows that students taking eight-week classes actually outperform those taking 16-week classes, due in part to the increased focus that this length of schedule encourages.

Regardless of your needs, the bottom line is that you don’t have to — and shouldn’t — put off the pursuit of your goals any longer. More than ever, employers seek skilled workers and there are tremendous career opportunities available now. Within every great challenge are even greater opportunities, and you don’t need to wait to get started. Starting at Ivy Tech in October is the first step toward a brighter future.

Sue Ellspermann is Ivy Tech Community College’s ninth president and oversees the largest singly accredited statewide community college in the nation. She has more than 30 years of experience in higher education, economic and workforce development, and public service. Send comments to [email protected].

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