TCC set to begin fast-paced courses for quick graduation

By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer

Plenty of first-time college students would like to complete studies for an Associate of Arts degree through a new Soar Ahead program at Tallahassee Community College.

But while the possibility of getting a degree in one year might be enough for some, there are those who could use the program to get to a four-year school. There are at least a combined 20,000-plus prospective students who miss the cut for getting into Florida State or Florida A&M each year.

TCC would welcome them, said President Jim Murdaugh.

“We certainly will market this,” Murdaugh said, “provide it to those students (and) let them know this is available for them.”

Or anyone else for that matter. The Soar Ahead program is available for anyone with a 3.0 GPA, although it’s not a requirement for getting into the program. TCC also offers help for individuals who might need remedial assistance to ready themselves for the fast-track program.

“Even if you don’t come here under this program initially, but you’re interested in getting into this program quickly we will work with them on an individual basis,” Murdaugh said. “One of the things we do well is personalize the attention we give to our students.”

So this is how TCC said the program will work: A student can complete as many of 48 credit hours of course work in a 16-week semester, which is split into two eight-week sessions. The 24 credit hours will run through the fall and spring semesters. Participants will also have to earn 12 more credit hours in the summer semester to attain the required 60 credits to earn an AA degree.

“We are going to be very intentional about the classes that we have in the accelerated term so that students can get what they need,” said Calandra Stringer, TCC provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs.  “We are looking for students who are motivated. We are looking for students who have time on their hands.”

TCC had an information sessions scheduled Tuesday for interested students. More information on the program and how to sign up is available online ( 

The cost for Florida’s residents is $100.83 per credit hour, with classes beginning this fall.

The idea of express semester isn’t new to TCC, said Bryan Hooper, Dean of social science. He and other deans overwhelmingly supported the Soar Ahead concept when it was introduced by Stringer, he said.

“When the provost came to the deans and said this is what we are thinking about doing,” Hooper said, the reaction was “let’s see how we can modify the schedule and make sure that the product we are providing for our students in this programs is going to be commensurate with everything else we do at TCC.”

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