- Associated Press - Sunday, November 23, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - While working on a school project in the student union last Friday, a group of four senior nursing students expressed disappointment that the University of Mary didn’t offer a year-round campus when they were freshmen.

University of Mary president, Monsignor James Shea, announced the plan to offer year-round classes last Thursday, which would allow students to earn a bachelor’s degree in just over two and a half years or also get a master’s degree in four years.

The new program will offer more classes during the summer and provide students with the option of taking eight consecutive semesters, the Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1vn3GOa ) reported.

“It’s nice to get a break, but, when you come back you can forget a lot of stuff,” said Kyle Laabs, 21, one of the nursing students. “In our field, it would be nice to constantly learn.”

Laabs said it would work well for most students in the medical field.

His project teammates agreed that it would’ve been beneficial to their careers if the program had been offered sooner.

“You could advance in your field faster,” said Alexa Barnes, 22, also a nursing student. “I’d be more inclined to go back for a master’s degree.”

Nursing student Kim Miller, 22, said that some other benefits would be fewer students loans, less money spent on housing in Bismarck and a more competitive school.

St. Mary’s Central High School senior, Morgan Heier, is weighing the benefits of the year-round track as a prospective nursing student.

“I think that’s going to give students a great opportunity to get out into the world sooner,” she said. “It shortens your college experience, but I think that’s a good thing to give up to pursue your dreams.”

Heier, 17, considers it to be a pro when considering the university because she said it will make her look great in the competitive job market and she will have the chance to make money sooner.

She said she hasn’t officially decided to get her degree in less than three years, but she’s says it’s on her mind.

Lea Sollmann, 19, a transfer student from a community college in Washington, said one important benefit she noticed was that it would make it easier for people coming back for degrees later in life to earn them more quickly.

“It’s a great option for some people that want to graduate in a shorter amount of time,” she said. “There’s something for everybody. For me, I wouldn’t want to do it in the summer because that’s when I work.”

Matt Larson, a junior in education, said that the benefits don’t apply to all majors.

“I think in theory it’s a good idea for some majors. However, I think there are some flaws,” he said.

As an education major, Larson, 21, said it would be hard for a younger graduate to be hired for a secondary teaching job because those teachers would only be a few years older than the students.

“You mature and grow into a totally different person in four years of college,” he said.

Larson suggested that education students wouldn’t be ready to teach in two and a half years, and they would have a hard time earning respect from their students and co-workers.

The year-round campus will begin in the fall semester of 2015 and the first summer session will be in 2016.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com


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