Some students consider gap semester


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Students who have struggled with online courses this semester say they might not enroll at AACC in the fall.

Daniel Salomón, Associate Editor

Some AACC students have said they plan to drop out of college for a semester because they do not want to take online classes.

In an informal poll of 21 AACC students, nine said they are considering taking a gap semester. Twelve said they are planning to either return to AACC or enroll in a four-year college in the fall.

“If classes in the fall are going to be online then … I’ll take a gap,” Mason Hood, a second-year creative writing student, said.

AACC announced in April that most 13- and 15-week courses will be entirely online this fall. Eight-week classes that start at the beginning of the semester will be online, but administrators said they have not decided if eight-week classes that start mid-semester will be online or on campus.

Dacia Sain, a first-year transfer studies student, said she learned this semester that online courses aren’t for her.

“I am finding it difficult for me to perform as well online as I would in a classroom setting,” Sain said. “I honestly really enjoy learning in a classroom, and I feel I don’t have something to look forward to when studying online.”

But more students said they will be back next semester, even if they would rather take classes on campus.

Raquel Smith, a second-year transfer student, said although she would prefer to take a break until classes come back to the physical campus, that will not work for her timeline.

“I’ve reworked my plans and goals over and over so I can take a semester off to focus on my family and myself, but it just never seems to work,” Smith said.

Smith added, “I would love to take a break—I need to take a break—but for me, the consequences of stepping off my path would just add to the concurrent stressors of being a full-time college student with responsibilities outside of academia.”

Will Kuethe, a fifth-year music student, said he will attend online classes in the fall, but he will take fewer than he had planned to.

“I’m going to take a couple classes I know I would have a good time with.” Kuethe said. “I will be taking less classes, though.”

Vice President for Learning Mike Gavin said students might not benefit from taking a gap semester.

“I actually don’t know that it’s a very good thing for most people,” he said. “The data show basically the more time you delay in taking your college courses, the more likely you’ll never finish your degree.”

He acknowledged that “there are exceptions to those rules. But it is pretty clear the less courses you take, the less likely you are to graduate,” Gavin said.

Bridget Voss, a second-year transfer studies student, said she considered sitting out for a semester but she doesn’t want to delay her graduation.

“I want to finish my degree as fast as possible and so I have to take [classes] this fall whether I like it or not,” she said.