Winter classes on the fast track

By Matt Howell

The College of Continuing Studies (CCS) has announced that it will be offering eight different classes this winter for students who want to try to finish their coursework, improve their GPA or graduate early.
Unlike the summer classes, which run for six weeks, the winter classes are held for three weeks. All the classes being offered are three hours long, and they are held four days a week.
“The idea for a January term came from students,” said Boris Vilic, dean of the CCS. “Many other universities have winter semesters, so students asked us if Rider could consider offering courses during the winter intersession.”
Sophomore Stuart Kovacs feels that a January term offers a lot to students in terms of freeing up space in their schedules for future semesters.
“Winter classes would definitely be beneficial for getting ahead in credits,” Kovacs said. “I took a summer class and will probably be taking a winter class. They will help me have less of a work load later so I can focus more on an internship.”
The classes include Fundamentals of Drawing, Sitcoms and American Culture, Photography, Music and Society, Political Film, Ethnographic Film, Introduction to Psychology and Theater Appreciation.
Not only are students able to take these classes, they’re also able to receive first-hand experience in a professional environment, a mentor-mentee relationship, connections outside of the classroom, and networking and résumé developing opportunities.
Students who are interested must meet certain requirements in order to be able to take the classes. Prospective students must already have at least 45 credits completed and a GPA of no less than 3.0. Those who can meet the requirements have to submit an application by Oct. 15. Applicants also must have a letter of recommendation from a faculty member at Rider.
The courses will begin in December with a preparatory seminar, which acts as an orientation. The seminar will discuss the benefits of business etiquette, expectations in a corporate environment and networking. In addition to receiving information about various topics, the students will also be evaluated on how prepared they are for the seminar and the value of their contributions.
In January, students will attend The Shadow Experience where students will spend at least 25 hours with a career professional who will evaluate them. A final seminar will be held at the end of the course and students who were involved will share their experiences and complete a survey before they leave.
Before CCS chose to hold winter classes, they conducted a pilot program to evaluate student reactions to the classes.
“The response was good,” said Matt McMullen, CCS graduate assistant.  “People enjoy the opportunity to either get ahead or catch up on credits.”
According to McMullen, some students enjoy this format.
When asked if there were any problems with the program, McMullen said, “Students need to be aware of the format of the class. Some wouldn’t be comfortable with the intenseness of the course.”
“Some students really do like to be immersed in a subject. For some students it’s too much at one time,” he said.
The overall response from students seems to be positive.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said freshman Daisy Rivadeneira. “It seems like CCS is really trying their best to make getting credits a lot easier for students who don’t have the time to take classes during the summer. They are trying to help out those who couldn’t continue college at one point, but now want to resume their education.”

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