Technical college putting students on the "fast track" to degree

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – Black River Technical College has started fast track classes to help students graduate sooner and spend less money.

"See them get to a job faster so in order to do that we are trying as many techniques as we can," said Academic Coordinator Priscilla Stillwell.

Stillwell said their focus is helping students graduate quicker and succeed in the real world.

"Want to see them get to a job faster so in order to do that we are trying as many techniques as we can," said Stillwell.

The program allows students to take two eight week courses instead of sixteen. Combining two classes within a semester, verses one sixteen week class.

"For example, Human anatomy 1 and Human Anatomy 2, we take those classes and put them in an eight week segments instead of a sixteen week segment. The students can take those courses in a shorter time period," said Stillwell.

Whether it's a math class or a nursing class, Stillwell said the program has done well so far.

"Completion rates are similar to those who had a sixteen week course to those who has an eight week course, so we consider that successful," said Stilwell.

When it comes to saving money the fast track courses can help the student save in the long run.

"They can complete those classes in a shorter amount of time and so that would take care of any raises in tuition. Anytime a student may have to have fees ,when fees go up they can pay it all at one time, they get it done all at one time so they can avoid those types of things," said Stillwell.

Developmental Instructor, Sandra Williams said the students have shared with her how much the fast track courses have helped with not only speeding up the process but retaining the information.

"Students express to me that it's great to be in math class everyday because when they're in math class everyday it stays fresh and it sticks with them," said Williams

When it comes to one on one interaction with student and teacher, the size of many of the courses make it easier.

"Anywhere from 12 to 20 students but it varies," said Williams.

If students are having trouble keeping up with the pace of the course work, there is even extra help to guide them to successfully complete the course.

"We have a wonderful tutor to help with students when they have special needs of some kind or they do not understand the concept," said Williams.

Black River Technical College also has weekend classes, online classes and five week classes available. For more information please call (870)239-0969.

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