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Night classes answer for working students

by Kristin Ching, staff writer

After a hard day’s work, Marisa Seril, 21, spends her evenings, not relaxing and having a drink with friends or hitting the clubs, but instead, taking night classes at HPU.

“ Because I work full time, taking night classes seems like my only option if I want to graduate by December,” she said. Her motto is, “Get in, get out, get a job.”

For students who work during the day, HPU’s alternate schedule offers a convenient way to get a college degree. Night classes provide students with an opportunity to “get class over with in a huge chunk,” Seril said.

Life can still be pretty hectic for working students. “It’s exhausting since it’s right after work, and everything is rush, rush, rush, and then ‘bam’ everyone in class has to sit patiently through a three-hour lecture,” Seril said.

Another student, Kekoa McClellan, 19, is trying hard to graduate as soon as possible. “I love night classes, I think they’re great,” he said.

McClellan, who took night classes this summer, is grateful for the opportunity to “get it all done in one shot.”

He would actually like HPU to offer more classes at night. “I’d be able to take what I want to take, rather than what’s available,” he said. He likes night classes because they “let me work and go to school at the same time,” McClellan added.

Flexibility is also important to Siri Masterson, 20, who also works during the day and takes classes at night. “It fills my schedule pretty well,” she said.

Evening classes are also a good option for those who want to avoid the average two or three trips to a class a week. “I think that HPU is the only school providing an alternate schedule,” Masterson said.

However, Masterson realizes that some people do not like taking night classes because they are three hours long. “If there were no break it, would be hell.”

Seventy percent of the students who go to HPU’s Adult Service Center (ASC) for help, choose to take evening, weekend, or online classes, said ASC Director Shirley Zhuang. The center currently serves over 600 students, not including those at military campuses or register online.

ASC caters to those who have commitments to a family or a full-time job. It usually assists students over age 25, especially those who have been out of school for a while. ASC advisor, Mary June calls the office a “one-stop shop” where students can register and get advice about their classes.

While taking night classes is convenient for those who work full time, some students are doing it because it’s the only time they can enroll in certain courses.

Other students, like Christine Ah Yee, 31, would rather be with their kids at night instead of being in class. “I don’t like night [classes]. I want to be in class when my children are in class,” she said.
However, Ah Yee also explained that many of the courses she needs to graduate are only offered at night. “That’s what’s preventing me from going to get my master’s.”

For whatever reasons students take night classes, enrollment is high, said Zhuang. “Evening classes are usually filled and we often ask the deans for overload permission.”

Although HPU has no policy on rotating day and evening classes, other big factors involved in scheduling night or day classes include program requirements, faculty availability, and cost effectiveness.

When developing a night schedule, “the deans give preference to graduate courses and courses that cater to the adult students,” said Dr. Leslie Correa, assistant vice president for academic administration.

Of the 900 course sections HPU offers each semester, most classes are scheduled during the day because there is more time available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:05 p.m., he said. Correa also explained that night classes are “one of the most popular,” but only run from 5:15 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. “We use all of our classrooms consistently during that time at both downtown and Hawai‘i Loa campuses.”

Since the number of available classrooms is limited, HPU is not planning to increase the number of night classes offered in the near future, said Correa. For now, they are focusing on a schedule with “a good mix of upper-division and lower-division classes.”




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