DIY: Late Start Classes Can Get the Job Done

Books, tools, and a graduation hat
Rebecca A. Eckland

Many of our late start classes begin in March, so we thought we’d give you the down-low on the top five ways late start classes can be a fantastic DIY solution to your academic goals.  Just like you can renovate your home using simple tools and strategies, you can work to build your personal and professional future by taking advantage of late start classes to build the semester—and the life—you’ve always wanted.

While these are all tried-and-true guidelines, we always recommend checking in with an Academic Advisor at least once a semester to make sure you’re on track for your specific degree program.  We’re confident, however, that if you keep these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the certificate or degree you’ve got your sights set on. 

Five DIY Guidelines for Plotting your Academic Journey 

  1. Disasters are to be avoided at all costs. In the realm of home improvement, this typically means leaving any plumbing or electrical upgrades to the professionals—flooding or burning your house down are definitely huge setbacks. In terms of your education, you should follow your degree program course sequences and the advice from our seasoned professionals in Academic Advising. After all, it’s never fun to get close to graduation only to discover the shocking news that you can’t because you forgot to take a humanities course.  Pro tip: if you know you need a certain kind of class, check out the late start offerings. Late start classes are a handy way of getting the required courses completed. And, because they are condensed course offerings, it will be over before you know it—we promise! 
  2. Take your time. We also call this guideline the “not all classes are created equal” rule. Although it probably makes us sound old fashioned to say this, education isn’t intended to be only a means to an end; it can also be a journey that leads you on a path of personal enrichment. Yes, we know: education is expensive not only because of the per-credit cost but also because of the time it takes to complete a course and to present your best work. But, then there’s that pesky detail that you’re actually a human being and not a robot, and treating yourself—and your education—as if you are can have detrimental consequences (a.k.a.: burnout.) So if you can—and you’ve already fine print and know whether or not the class is considered inside your degree program and therefore covered by Financial Aid, it’s always a good idea to take one “selfish” class for yourself in a topic that interests you or—heaven forbid—that might actually be fun. Pro tip: If you forgot to take a fun class or now that the semester is underway, you’ve realized you have a bit of extra time, there are 156 late-start opportunities to practice some academic self-care.
  3. Save some dinero and #GoGreen. Yeah, we’re biased on this one, but with our 50 programs of study and 160 degrees offered at a fraction of the cost of UNR, we think TMCC is a cost-effective way of pursuing your academic goals. Plus, our official color is green, so by taking classes with us, you really are—literally—#GoingGreen. Pro tip: Even if you are a UNR student, you can also sign up for late start classes at TMCC! Just apply to the college and then, presto! Enjoy the savings that accompany the quality of education we offer.
  4. Safety First! While the risks associated with earning a certificate or degree aren’t quite the same as renovating your kitchen—where you could actually drop a hammer on your foot or break a nail—we do want you to keep your personal wellness in mind as you work toward your educational goals.  Did you know that we don’t let you take more than 18 credits per semester? If you’re already a full-time student (you’re taking 12 credits or more) and you have a 3.0 GPA, you can write us a persuasive letter telling us why you want to do this (however, if you’ve ever taken 18 credits in one semester, you probably understand and appreciate this guideline.)  Pro-tip: In addition to looking out for your sanity, you can also use late start classes to get rid of that GPA-anchor on your transcript from that class you didn’t do so well in. How does that work? If you re-take the class, and you get a better grade, you can petition Admissions and Records to have the higher grade take the place of the lower one (which will become an “R” on your transcript) by using this online form. You can do this for up to 12 credits. This is a great way to keep that GPA in the safe-zone!
  5. Build your schedule beyond the semester. Being a full-time, traditional college student isn’t feasible for everybody—let’s face it, you might have a day job or a family to take care of, so there’s no way you can sit in class from 8-5 and earn those 15-credits per semester you need to graduate in two years.  However, late-start classes, by their very nature, are condensed versions of traditional 16-week classes. Because of this, many of them are offered in full, or partially, online.  This can enable you to complete coursework on your own schedule. Pro tip: Think of late start classes as baby-steps you can take toward your goal. By adding one late start class to your schedule, you will add 1-3 credits to your current course load. If you add that to the classes available during the summer and winter breaks, you have the opportunity to add up to 12 credits to your academic schedule without taking a full load every semester. If you do that, you’ll be done with that degree lickity-split!

As with any DIY project, we recommend consulting with our experts in Academic Advising to make sure your plan will get you to where you want to go. In the meantime, check out TMCC’s 156 Spring late start classes that can be the perfect fix for your graduation plans. For more information, contact the TMCC Academic Advisement office at 775-673-7062, or schedule an appointment online.