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College students head back to class

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POSTED: August 13, 2010 1:56 p.m.
Photo by Denise Etheridge/

Central Texas College student Samantha Fettig talks about application guidelines and class registration Monday with Gacolby McKnight, assistant registrar at Central Texas College's Fort Stewart location in the Army Education Center.

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College students, from freshmen to graduate students, are gearing up for the start of a new school year. The colleges at the Army Education Center began the fall semester Monday. Classes start at Armstrong Atlantic State University’s Liberty Center on Aug. 16. And many recent high school graduates are packing up and preparing to move away from home to attend classes.
Dianna Jimenez, a 2010 Liberty County High School graduate, will soon begin her freshmen year at Georgia Southern University. Jimenez, an early-childhood education major, said she chose GSU because it is close to home, but far enough away to give her some independence. The student also said she thinks the university offers the best of both worlds — plenty of academic and extracurricular offerings on a campus that’s not intimidating in size.
“It’s a good mixture of what big campuses have to offer, and what small campuses have to offer,” she said.
Jimenez said she’s excited about living on campus this year, but worried about moving to a new place. “I’m a little nervous about getting used to the campus and adjusting to a new school,” she said.
Jimenez said she went shopping for all of her dorm and school supplies about two weeks ago, and has been steadily packing ever since.
“It’s a lot of working getting everything ready for school. You have to be sure everything is paid, and there are deadlines to meet, like for housing,” she said.
Students at the Armstrong’s Liberty Center dealt with similar deadlines. Typically, the center sees about 400-500 students a semester and most of the classes for this semester are full, said Jene Boyd, front office manager at the center. The Liberty Center offers core classes and students typically can take two years’ worth of courses there. The facility also offers four-year criminal justice or liberal arts degrees, Boyd said.
“The deadline for applications for the fall semester was Aug. 9, but students can still enroll for the flex term, which is in October,” she said.
With a combination of online and in-class seating, Columbia College-Fort Stewart has more than 900 enrollees. “Going over 900 is new territory for us. It’s extremely exciting,” said Richard Conroy, director of Columbia College-Fort Stewart. “The online enrollment is strong because of the deployment.”
Enrollment for the Fort Stewart location is steadily increasing, he said, with winter numbers around 350, spring numbers close to 380 and fall numbers at almost 400.
Natalie Felder, a student at Columbia College-Fort Stewart, is taking her second-to-last group of classes at the Army Education Center.
“I’m excited that after these classes, I only have two more left,” she said. Before taking classes at Columbia College-Fort Stewart, Felder worked as a military intelligence analyst for the Army. After finishing her psychology degree, Felder plans to start a career as a relationship counselor.
Given the school’s diverse student population and plentiful class options, Conroy said he hopes to see Columbia College-Fort Stewart continue to expand.
Other colleges at the Army Education Center also are experiencing growth.  
At Central Texas College’s Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield locations, 500 students — both civilians and military members — have enrolled, said Darlene Jones, CTC site registrar.
Samantha Fettig, who previously was a stay-at-home mom, said she is ready to start classes, and she chose Central Texas to jump-start her next career.
Jones said her office has been “quite busy with registration, but everything is going well.”
 Central Texas is offering new class times and new courses in biology and accounting. “We’re now offering Saturday classes as well as our morning, afternoon and evening classes,” Jones said.
Central Texas also offers online courses, which start Aug. 30.

 

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