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    Palomar plans to increase Fast Track courses

    Fast Track courses are proving to be beneficial for students and continue to grow in demand each semester, according to school officials.

    Students and faculty alike say they have seen several benefits in opening Fast Track courses for student enrollment. Fast Track is a program of courses that allows students to obtain a full semester of material, however, the length of the course is cut in half.

    Palomar’s Interim Vice President of Instruction Dan Sourbeer said he has high hopes for the future Fast Track sessions and admits that it has proven to be a positive route for students.

    Telescope Staff/The Telescope
    Telescope Staff/The Telescope

    In Spring 2015, “we had 204 (Fast Track) courses with almost 4,000 total students enrolled,” Sourbeer said.

    While the first Fast Track session of the Spring 2016 semester is currently underway, there are already students lining up for the second session, which begins on March 29. Sourbeer said he believes they will see a increase in enrollment. The Fast Track courses are eight weeks long, compared to the regular 16-week, full semester courses.

    “We have 189 courses open with 3,500 students enrolled. Generally we see higher enrollment in Fast Track II,” Sourbeer explained when discussing the enrollment numbers for the current semester.

    Many times, Fast Track courses help speed along the process for students to complete a necessary number of units within a shorter window of time.

    Palomar student, Isai Zavala, said that the college’s Fast Track program has been useful as an alternative to full-semester courses that are not available at the needed time slot.

    “I will be taking Fast Track again in March … Before, I was dropping other classes, and took (Fast Track) as an alternative,” said Zavala.

    For students who need specific course types, the college will be adding a variety of Fast Track classes in time for the second Spring session.

    “We will be offering a few more course options, and expect the same number of students as the last spring semester,” Sourbeer said.

    The expansion of Fast Track courses may pique the interest of several Palomar students who are on the fence about enrolling.

    Felicia Smith Vasquez, a Palomar student who has enrolled in Fast Track courses in the past, said she will consider doing so once again, if the right option opens up.

    “Fast Track can be helpful but also stressful. You are learning a full semester worth of material in half the time. I would probably take another child development course again, but not a core subject course,” explained Vasquez.

    Sourbeer emphasized that the overall importance of a Fast Track course was to allow the student to move at an accelerated pace in the courses they need the most.

    “Fast Track is a way to get extra classes in and help with course progression,” Sourbeer said when discussing the way the program helps utilize a student’s time at the college.

    While the college prepares for the start of the second session, plans for the first Fall 2016 session are already beginning to form. Sourbeer said the first session does not seem to be as needed among students, but two sessions are provided each semester.

    “If we can assist students, then we open Fast Track I,” Sourbeer said.

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    Palomar plans to increase Fast Track courses