Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Achieve degree?
- How does this degree differ from any other online degree program?
- What is the degree and how is it structured?
- How does this degree prepare students for a career?
- Why this major and this format?
- Does this mean students can take whatever they want?
- What are the admission standards?
- What does this program cost?
- When can students start the program?
What is the Achieve degree?
This is a uniquely supportive and individualized bachelor's degree program delivered entirely online that is geared to the needs of persons who find the traditional classroom challenging to their specific educational, social and communicative needs. This may include, for example, students with autism, ADHD, social reluctance or Crohn's disease. In addition to online learning and specially trained faculty, this program provides extensive one-on-one mentoring by Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) facilitators and a "one-class-at-a-time" sequence that allows students to focus intensively for eight-week periods on one or two topics.
In particular, persons on the Autism Spectrum would benefit from the teaching styles and the course structure, but this is a program that is open to anyone who would flourish under this style of supportive learning and find the traditional college classroom atmosphere problematic.
How does this degree differ from any other online degree program?
This degree was structured from the ground up with the guidance of Professor Dana R. Reinecke, PhD, BCBA-D, the director of Sage's highly successful and acclaimed online master's program in Applied Behavioral Analysis, the most-widely accepted and scientifically quantifiable method for assisting persons on the Autism Spectrum. Thus, it was designed to meet the specific needs of this and other special-needs populations. It is not a one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter approach to learning; rather it is designed to focus on the academic and social needs of each individual student and provide intensive support in both areas.
From course design and pacing, to length of academic term, to the availability of mentors via e-mail, Skype and telephone, to the creation of life-skills classes, this program has been designed with the needs of students at the forefront.
Students are guaranteed three hours per week of one-on-one interaction with their ABA-trained mentor. This person will also spend a minimum of one hour per week in consultation specific to that student with the faculty members teaching the student's current coursework.
What is the degree and how is it structured?
The program leads to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies with companion classes in computer science. It is designed to be completed in four years, and requires 120 credits to graduate. In addition to courses required for the major and General Education requirements, the program features 12, one-credit courses in such topics as online study skills, personal finance, conversation and interpersonal communication, career preparation, and interviewing skills.
Students in the first two years of study take one, three-credit course to fulfill degree requirements and one life-skill course each eight weeks. This is a year-round program, with students completing six, eight-week terms per year. At the end of two years of study, students will have amassed 48 credits.
Students in the second two years of study will take two, three-credit courses per term to fulfill degree requirements each eight weeks. Again, this is a year-round experience, with students completing an additional 72 credits during the final two years of study.
How does this degree prepare students for a career?
A liberal arts degree provides broad preparation for a variety of careers and can be an attractive asset to employers, as it provides evidence of being well-rounded and knowledgeable in a variety of areas. Persons with a liberal arts degree work in fields including (but not limited to) management, social services, politics, publishing, and communications. The computer science emphasis also provides students with readiness for positions such as help desk specialist, data-mining analyst, website infrastructure designer, and website administrator. In addition, Lifelabs and other courses in the program provide a framework for career preparation and job seeking, along with marketable skills in areas such as interpersonal communication, self management, goal setting, effective writing, and more. Finally, for those students wishing to enter graduate school or law school, the focus on broad problem-solving skills and the ability to articulate processes and solutions is excellent preparation.
Why this major and this format?
This program offers the breadth and depth of a Liberal Arts education while providing a practical, career-oriented emphasis that focuses on quantitative skills that can lead to success in a fast-growing field where trained professionals are much in demand.
By allowing students to focus on one, or two, topics during a term, faculty and mentors are able to work closely with students to provide the sorts of feedback and interaction that facilitates learning.
Further, by eliminating long periods of inactivity, such as the traditional summer term, students are able to stay focused in "study mode" and not risk losing valuable intellectual connections and study skills that must then be regained, slowing forward momentum toward the degree.
Does this mean students can take whatever they want?
The short answer is, no. A blend of courses from the social sciences, humanities, and the quantitative sciences has been carefully selected to foster skills in close reading, critical thinking, analysis, and expression. The Liberal Arts preparation, coupled with companion classes in computer science, means graduates of this program will possess the sorts of qualitative and quantitative skills that are in high demand in the workplace and/or graduate school.
Course offerings and sequencing have been carefully developed to introduce and enforce skills that provide not only self-awareness, but a growing sense of the larger community, as students hone expanding abilities to self-advocate, negotiate and persist.
Students will progress through the program in a cohort model, and the entire four-year course plan will be available from the first day of registration.
What are the admission standards?
Those seeking to enroll in the program are subject to the College's admission standards, but will work closely with the Achieve Degree program director and Admissions staff in completing this process. While this program provides significant support services, prospective students should know that this is a challenging course of study whose rigor and intellectual demands are no different than those of any program at Sage. The program motto: "Access Success" is an accurate summation of this program's goals.
What does this program cost?
Tuition for this year-round program of six academic terms is $27,000 for the first year, with a modest increase in the second. As the student's course load effectively doubles in the third and fourth year, tuition increases proportionately: tuition for the third year is approximately $43,000, with a modest increase in the fourth year.
Tuition includes individual mentoring from a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and other support services.
An initial deposit of 5%, or $1,350, is required to enroll in the program. Tuition is billed three times a year in conjunction with the College's schedule of billing for Spring, Summer and Fall semesters (though in the Achieve Degree program, each semester includes two terms rather than one).