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Popularity of accelerated Winter Session increases

Date: 11/28/2012

College students from Alvernia and beyond are discovering that Winter Break is a great time to stay in school — and more students than ever are taking advantage of accelerated winter session opportunities.

Some students take multiple classes to graduate a little early. "I wanted to start my New Year's resolution a little early this year," says one student, who will be taking two classes. While getting a head start on the next semester or accelerating a graduation date are top reasons to take courses, there are other, sometimes overlooked benefits.

"We sometimes recommend Winter Session to students who have been wait-listed for a course," says Alvernia's Registrar. "Popular or required courses tend to fill up fast, and getting in during the regular semester can be difficult." Enrolling in a required core major course during Winter Session allows students to complete classes at a time when everyone else is miles away from campus. And putting a required course behind them lets students focus on getting into their next set of courses.

“Another benefit of winter session is its convenience and flexibility,” says Susan Haldeman, admissions director for the Alvernia's School of Graduate and Adult Education. “Students can complete an entire course in just a few weeks. A wide variety of courses are available and students can get ahead by taking classes on campus, online or a combination of the two.”

Adult students taking classes part-time sometimes find that the accelerated format of Winter Session helps them keep up with full-time classmates. "Seeing familiar faces in the classroom can help students enjoy classes and feel more confident," says Haldeman.

As winter session classes become more popular, college administrators are noticing they meet a broader range of needs, explains Daria LaTorre, dean of Alverna's School of Graduate and Adult Education. “Students can use a winter session to improve their GPAs, work on an advanced degree and graduate on-time or even early,” said LaTorre. “We see students from other colleges and high schools, as well as degree-seeking professionals as part of our class mix.”

Students take note: Not every regular semester class is available during a winter session. Find out what's available here or talk to your advisor to see what’s offered and how to enroll. Students should also check with their financial aid department to determine what aid options may be available to them.

"The bottom line is that winter session learning is a smart way for students to stay on course now with a big future payoff," says Haldeman. 

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.