Great Falls College-MSU announced in a news release on Friday that it has extended the application deadline in the high-wage, high-demand fields of dental assisting, paramedic, physical therapy assistant, cyber security, renewable energy/industrial technician and welding.
Scott Thompson, director of communications and marketing, says people are applying more than usual but not entirely taking the plunge: "That's kind of a glass half-empty, glass half-full type of situation. Right now, we're seeing more people applying. and they're a little bit hesitant to pull the trigger on that, on actually enrolling."
“We recognize students and working families have had multiple decisions to make,” said Dr. Susan Wolff, the CEO/dean of Great Falls College. “Now that local school districts are releasing their plans for the school year, the college invites current and new students to continue or start their own education. During times of economic change, it may be a good time to pursue opportunities to enhance your current employment or explore new careers.”
Russ Motschenbacher, director of the college’s health sciences division, is relieved the school will be able to continue taking applications in those programs that are not full.
“We are excited to extend the application process for students who are holding off on a decision, but we urge them to apply now because these programs could fill up,” he said. “Some are close to capacity right now.”
The renewable energy/industrial technician and welding programs also are not yet full, and Joel Sims, trades division director, is pleased the school will be able to continue taking applications. "There are a lot of great-paying jobs out there, and we are eager to fill them with our graduates,” he said.
Great Falls College also offers many, many courses and, in fact, entire programs online for those who still are not comfortable meeting in public spaces. There also are programs that have a blended mix of online and face-to-face components, Wolff said.
Even before the pandemic, more than 90 percent of Great Falls College’s full-time general education faculty members had taught online, according to college data.
“We have been a leader in online instruction for two decades,” said Dr. Leanne Frost, director of general education, leader of Great Falls College’s Healthy Fall Task Force and a member of the Montana University System’s Healthy Fall Task Force. “We have taken every precaution possible to ensure the healthiest fall semester possible for our face-to-face students, but we know that some people will be more comfortable learning online. We’re ready to meet them wherever they are most comfortable.”
Wolff also acknowledged what a hard time it is for those who just graduated high school and are facing so many tough decisions.
“My heart goes out to them,” she said. “I understand so many are still trying to make up their minds about their next steps. For those, Great Falls College MSU is an institution that is close to home for many of our students and is a perfect place to take general education, career and skills-based courses at a considerable savings. Credits earned here will transfer seamlessly throughout the Montana University System and many other institutions.”
The final deadline for paperwork to be filed with the admissions office is Aug. 12, although some programs could fill up before that date. Welding students need to apply by Aug. 7.
Classes begin Aug. 17, a week earlier than originally planned, so that on-campus instruction for the second eight-week block of the fall semester can be completed before the Thanksgiving break.
“The college’s 8-Week Advantage gives students the opportunity to achieve success and earn credits more quickly and fit school within other aspects of life during two blocks each semester,” Wolff said.