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Be Great in 8

Starting in the fall of 2023, Isothermal Community College will offer most of its courses in an 8-week format. The fall and spring semesters will include a “1st 8-week term” and a “2nd 8-week term.” Additionally, most summer classes will be offered during an 8-week term, although there may be some slightly longer 10-week courses.

We are offering courses in an 8-week format because data from across the nation shows that this format provides several benefits to students that lead to better student success in individual classes and program completion. Major differences between 16-week and 8-week courses include:

16-week courses

  • 12-18 credit hours per 16 week term (on average)
  • Take 4-5 classes at a time
  • Keep up with 4-5 sets of assignments
  • Communicate with 4-5 instructors at a time

8-week courses

  • 6-9 credit hours per 8 week term (on average)
  • Take 2-3 classes at a time
  • Keep up with 2-3 sets of assignments
  • Communicate with 2-3 instructors at a time

What your financial aid disbursement check might look like

Contact us with questions

Semester Calendar

Download the information booklet

Example schedule

Associate in Arts Degree

First 8-weeks

ENG 111 Writing & Inquiry

3 credits

CIS 110 Introduction to Computers

3 credits

ACA 122 College Transfer Success

1 credit
7 total credits

Second 8-weeks

ENG 112 Writing/Research in the Disc

3 credits

MAT 152 Statistical Methods I

4 credit
7 total credits

Total 14 credit hours in the semester

If you want to complete in two years, you should take at least one additional class per year. You could take classes in the summer also.

Program total required for graduation with an Associate in Arts degree: 60-61

Will all classes be offered in 8-week terms?

Most courses will be offered in 8-week terms, but some programs and courses will remain in the 16-week format due to high contact hours.

Why is Isothermal changing to 8-week terms?

Research demonstrates that 8-week terms improve student learning. Taking fewer classes at a time allows you to focus more intensely on the course material, making you likely to remember the material longer.

What will be the delivery format of 8-week classes?

Eight-week classes will be offered in all delivery formats: in-person, in-person combined with online, and completely online.

Does the change to 8-week terms mean I can finish my degree faster?

Eight-week terms make it possible to complete a degree faster, depending on whether you intend to be full-time or part-time. However, to get the most benefit from the compressed time frame, you should take approximately half the number of credits each 8-week term that you would have taken in a 16-week term.

Will 8-week classes be harder?

Classes will not be harder, but it may seem that way at first, because you will be completing the same course more quickly than you may have been used to. However, it is important to remember you should only be taking half the number of classes at any given time, so your overall workload per term will be comparable to the 16-week term.

What is considered a full-time load?

Twelve credits are considered full-time. That means 12-16 credits per 16-week semester, or 6-8 credits in the first 8-week term and 6-8 credits in the second 8-week term.

How many classes do I have to take to complete an associate degree in two years?

If you average two 3 credit classes per 8-week term, you will need to take a couple of classes in the summer to complete a degree in two years. Alternatively, you could take one additional class in two of your 8-week terms. Be sure to talk to your College Navigator and Faculty Mentor about the best approach to building your course schedule to reach your goals.

What if I am taking science classes that have labs?

You might have a class with higher “contact hours” per week than the listed credit hours because of a lab component. The number of contact hours tells you how much time you can expect to spend either in the classroom/lab or working online in addition to reading and homework. If you are taking one of these classes, talk to your College Navigator and Faculty Mentor about whether it would be best for you to take only that class in one 8-week term. If you take a second class, select it carefully, keeping your total number of contact hours in mind.

How will the registration process change?

You will always meet with your College Navigator or Faculty Mentor to plan a 16-week semester. But now, you will break down your classes into two sets: one for the first 8-week term and one for the second 8-week term.

If I drop a class in the first 8 weeks, can I take it in the second 8 weeks?

Yes, if it is offered, which is another advantage of 8-week terms. Isothermal plans its class schedules a year at a time, so when you register for the fall semester, you will be able to see what will be offered in the spring semester too.

How will my financial aid be affected by the change?

You will still register for all courses (8-week and 16-week) at the start of the semester. If you don’t have your financial aid file complete, please turn in any missing documents and missing information to the Financial Aid Office so that you can be awarded financial aid and avoid the risk of losing your registered courses. If you are a new student after the full-term census and register for a late start course, you may still qualify for financial aid by filing your FAFSA. Come by Student Services for one-on-one assistance with your FAFSA and to check on your financial aid eligibility for late-start courses. We are glad to help you secure your financial aid!

Do I pay tuition and fees twice per semester now?

Tuition payment is due at the end of each registration period. Charges are placed on your account when you register for your course(s). Financial aid that is in place on your account will apply to those charges (8-week and 16-week). Any remaining refunds from financial aid are disbursed to you after the census date of the term for each course. Please check Isothermal’s Dates and Deadlines webpage for check release dates. The Financial Aid Office may add additional funds to your student account after late-start courses have been attended, depending upon the calculations of credits with late-start courses and your financial aid eligibility. If you are a new student and register for late start courses after the full-term census, those charges are placed on your account. Financial aid will be posted to your account once your FAFSA is in place in our system and your financial aid file is completed. Any financial aid refunds will also be made after the census date for your late start courses. Please review the institutional calendar or Financial Aid webpage for important dates and information.

Contact for information

Advising and Success Center
Student Center, Room 32

Office: 828-395-1436

Office hours

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Subject to change depending on availability.