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Be Great in 8

Isothermal Community College offers most courses in an 8-week format. The fall and spring semesters include an 8-week Term 1 and an 8-week Term 2. Additionally, most summer courses will be offered during an 8-week term, although there may be some slightly longer 10-week courses.

We are offering courses in an 8-week format because data from across the nation shows that this format provides several benefits to students that lead to better student success in individual classes and program completion. Major differences between 16-week and 8-week courses include:

16-week courses

  • 12-18 credit hours per 16 week term (on average)
  • Complete 4-5 classes at a time
  • Focus on 4-5 sets of assignments
  • Communicate with 4-5 instructors at a time

8-week courses

  • 6-9 credit hours per 8 week term (on average)
  • Complete 2-3 classes at a time
  • Focus on 2-3 sets of assignments
  • Communicate with 2-3 instructors at a time

What your financial aid disbursement check might look like

Contact us with questions

Semester Calendar

Download the information booklet

Example schedule

Associate in Arts Degree

First 8-weeks

ENG 111 Writing & Inquiry

3 credits

CIS 110 Introduction to Computers

3 credits

ACA 122 College Transfer Success

1 credit
7 total credits

Second 8-weeks

ENG 112 Writing/Research in the Disc

3 credits

MAT 152 Statistical Methods I

4 credit
7 total credits

Total 14 credit hours in the semester

If you want to complete in two years, you should take at least one additional class per year. You could take classes in the summer also.

Program total required for graduation with an Associate in Arts degree: 60-61

Will all classes be offered in 8-week terms?

Most courses will be offered in 8-week terms, but some programs and courses are in a 16-week format due to high contact hours.

Why is Isothermal changing to 8-week terms?

Research demonstrates that 8-week terms improve student learning. Taking fewer classes at a time allows you to focus more intensely on the course material, making you likely to remember the material longer.

What will be the delivery format of 8-week classes?

Eight-week classes will be offered in all delivery formats: in-person, in-person combined with online, and completely online.

Do 8-week terms mean I can finish my degree faster?

Eight-week terms make it possible to complete a degree faster, particularly if you intend to enroll part-time. However, to get the most benefit from the compressed timeframe, you should take approximately half the number of credits each 8-week term that you would have taken in a semester.

Are 8-week classes harder?

It may seem that way at first because you will be completing the same course more quickly than you may be used to. However, it is important to remember you should only be taking half the number of credits at any given time, so your overall workload per term will be comparable to a semester.

What is considered a full-time for financial aid?

Traditionally, enrolling in 12 or more credits had been considered full-time for financial aid purposes. As of 2024-2025, federal aid is calculated according to the number of credits enrolled rather than a full-time or part-time status.

How many classes do I have to take to complete an associate degree in two years?

If you average two 3-credit courses per 8-week term, you will need to take a couple of courses in the summer to complete a degree in two years. Alternatively, you could take one additional course in two of your 8-week terms. Be sure to talk to your College Navigator and Faculty Mentor about the best approach to building your course schedule to reach your goals.

What if I am taking science classes that have labs?

You might have a class with higher “contact hours” per week than the listed credit hours because of a lab component. The number of contact hours tells you how much time you can expect to spend either in the classroom/lab or working online in addition to reading and homework. If you are taking one of these courses, talk to your College Navigator and Faculty Mentor about whether it would be best for you to take only that course in one 8-week term. If you take a second course, select it carefully, keeping your total number of contact hours in mind.

How will the registration process work?

You will always meet with your College Navigator or Faculty Mentor to plan a 16-week semester. However, you will break down your classes into two sets: one for Term One and one set for Term Two.

If I drop a class in the first 8 weeks, can I take it in the second 8 weeks?

Yes, if it is offered, which is another advantage of 8-week terms. Isothermal plans class schedules a year at a time, so when you register for the fall semester, you will be able to see what will be offered in the spring semester too. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to ask how adjusting your schedule will impact your aid.

How is my financial aid be affected?

You will register for all courses (8-week and 16-week) at the start of the semester. To secure your courses, be sure your financial aid is complete.

If you are a new or returning student after the full-term census and you register for Term 2 courses, you may still qualify for financial aid by filing your FAFSA. Come by Student Services for one-on-one assistance. We are glad to help you secure your financial aid!

The full-term census is the 10% point of the semester. These dates can be found on the Academic Calendar at

When do I pay tuition and fees?

Charges are placed on your account when you register for your course(s). Payment for tuition and fees is due at the end of each registration period. Aid that is available on your account will apply to those charges.

When will I get my refund?

Any remaining financial aid funds are disbursed after the census dates for Term One and Term Two. Important details and scenarios are included in the What Your Financial Aid Check Disbursement Might Look Like section on pages 11 and 12.

Be sure to log into your Patriot Port account for direct deposit information. Pell disbursement dates can be found on the Academic Calendar at

Contact for information

Advising and Success Center
Student Center, Room 32

Office: 828-395-1436

Office hours

8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Subject to change depending on availability.