Block Plans at College – Are They a Good Fit For You?

The other night I stood at a local college fair and listened to numerous students and parents walk up to colleges and ask, “what makes your college different?” Sometimes, colleges who may be strong in a variety of academic areas across the board – but not have a specific strength – have a hard time answering this question.

However, colleges such as Colorado College and Cornell College can easily answer this question from prospective students. The answer? Their block plan.

For those of you unfamiliar with block plans, they are a unique academic approach that allow students to take one class at a time for three and a half weeks. This differs substantially from the traditional semester approach where students juggle four or five classes at one time. These block plan courses may allow for experiential learning and deep focus into subjects you are interested in.

For example, professors may be more willing (and able) to take you on a significant field trip since you don’t have to worry about missing another class, their course is the only one you are taking at the time.  You will also be able to immerse yourself in the subject matter and explore it from every angle. Do you dislike feeling the need to switch subjects to prep for another test  in a different course before you feel you have completely learned and mastered the material for the one you are taking? Block plans might be for you. Most block plan classes are small and discussion based. With the extended learning time you may also have the chance to develop a strong connection with your professor.

As you are thinking about what college you want to attend, it is important to always consider the academic options offered and the type of curriculum that best suits your learning style. Read more on the subject of exploring colleges with unique curriculums as discussed in my previous blog post  When Looking At Colleges Don’t Forget To Look at the Curriculum .

Cara Ray

About the Author

Cara is a Senior Associate with the firm. She worked for many years as a Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Colorado. She is a leader in the field, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Rocky Mountain Association of College Admission Counselors. A graduate of Colgate University, Cara also earned a Masters in higher education from the University of Denver, specializing in student development.

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