The theme of constant support from students, staff and faculty runs throughout the 10-year-old continuing education program for female adult learners at Bay Path College of Longmeadow, Mass., a women's college founded in 1897. The One-Day program, known as "Saturday College," expanded in 2003 to include a campus in Charlton, and in 2007, the Burlington, Mass. campus opened its doors, housed in a renovated wing of Burlington High School.
Continuing Education for Busy Adults
Dr. Gina Joseph-Collins, Dean of the One-Day Programs, notes that student-driven support is central to Bay Path's success. "We have a program called The Mentor Connection, and it's actually founded by students -- it's a student-led initiative. We have students who participate in our orientation programs, and they reach out to new students and assist them and encourage them."
The average student in this continuing education program in Massachusetts is in her 30s, but as Casey Olsson, Director of Admissions for the Burlington campus notes, "I have students choosing the One-Day format right out of high school, and then I have students in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s all together doing the program, so there really isn't just a single profile."
What Adult Learners Can Expect at Bay Path
Students need a high school diploma or GED to enter the program, which offers a full-time schedule, with six six-week sessions throughout the academic year. Each six-week session involves two five-hour class sessions on Saturdays. The first course meets from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A one-hour lunch break splits the day, then students attend a second class session from 1:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. At the end of six weeks, the student has completed six credit hours.
The typical full-time student spends 36 Saturdays in class and ends the year with 36 credit hours completed. Classes do not meet during the month of August and on major holiday weekends. Adult learners have hybrid and online continuing education course options for greater flexibility. As BPC Saturday College student Theresa Naimo of Everett, Mass. notes, "The schedule fits my life style since I am able to take classes both online and on site. This has been a tremendous help during my pregnancy, when 12-hour days are just not feasible."
The schedule can seem intimidating to prospective students, but according to Olsson, "I tell them, believe it or not, once people start this program they want to be here for the full day. They love how quickly they really can finish an entire bachelor's degree and that motivation of finishing classes every six weeks really keeps you going."
Students can complete an entire bachelor's degree from scratch in under four years, but most students come into the program with some college credits, shortening the time needed for this continuing education degree.
Continuing Education Degrees
The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and bachelor's degrees are accredited by the Massachusetts Department of Education. Degrees offered range from a certificate in paralegal studies to a wide array of bachelor's degrees. View the full offering of continuing education degrees available through the Bay Path One-Day Saturday College degree completion program to learn more.