Monday, July 28, 2008

Maricopa Week great time to enroll

If you’re thinking of returning to college, interested in a career change or want to save time and money with an online class now’s your chance.

This week, July 28 through August 1, Rio Salado College is holding Maricopa Week. This is the ideal time to enroll in college before the big crowds hit.

Students can meet with an academic advisor, find out about financial aid and learn about Rio Salado’s state-of the art course delivery system RioLearn.

There are also balloons and give-aways during this week for students. Hundreds of students have already enrolled in Rio Salado’s more than 450 online classes.

Taking community college classes from home has many benefits including saving gasoline as prices at the pump continue to take a big chunk out of residents’ wallets.

“It’s affordable and it’s a really good value,” said Marisa Zelaya, 28, who is pursuing an associate’s degree in general business and plans to transfer to Arizona State University, one of the many universities that partners with Rio Salado. Zelaya likes her online class.

“I can do it in my jammies if I want on the weekends,” Zelaya added.
Amy Green, a 34-year-old Avondale student, said her health problems require her to be at home much of the time, making Rio Salado’s online classes perfect for her.
“I just completed the CIS (Computer Information Systems) course and I’m starting my associate’s (degree) in business next week,” Green said. “My initial goal is to do my home-based business, which is what this is all going towards.”

“It was the first time I had done online,” she said, adding that, “It’s been convenient,” and the instructors have been “responsive” to questions.

Queen Creek resident Bill Cotten, 25, said he took in-person classes at another community college but learned more at Rio Salado, where he takes online courses.
“I like it,” Cotten said. “I work full-time so it works with my schedule.”

He said he plans to transfer to Northern Arizona University, another of the many universities which partners with Rio Salado, allowing students to transition without losing credits.

Meeting with an academic advisor during Maricopa Week or any other time is a smart move for current and new students, said Rio Salado College director of advisement Rachelle Clarke.

“College is complex,” Clarke said. “Advisors can help students navigate college including showing students what an online course looks like.

“Working with an academic advisor provides you with a constant connection to the college,” she added.

Advisors can explain Rio Salado College policies and help students learn what classes are required to pursue specific degrees, Clarke said.

Advisors also talk to students about what is going on in their personal lives and provide tips for time management and how to access other resources to make their college experience successful, Clarke said.

“People are signing up for classes year-round at Rio Salado College,” she said. “If people are thinking about going to college for the first time, re-careering or going back to college after a break Rio Salado is the right place to start,” said Clarke.

Rio Salado College is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges. The college offers degrees and career and technical certificates in business, computer technology, early childhood and teacher education, healthcare, law enforcement and more. For registration or more information call 480-517-8540 or go to