Our programs are cohorted, which means we admit people in groups and they complete the entire program together from beginning to end. Our cohorts typically have between 15-25 people, although some programs run more than one cohort at a time. Having the same people in your classes every semester helps to build community and we have found our cohorts come to support each other like family. Another benefit of this cohort model is the fixed course schedule. All the programs courses are pre-designed and taken in a specific semester. Our faculty intentionally build on the coursework so what you learn in the second semester will build on the first and so on. This provides the opportunity to have much richer and deeper learning experiences since everyone has the same prerequisite knowledge as you progress through the program. The courses are open to only those in your cohort, so you don’t have to worry about waking up early to be the first to register or courses filling up and not being able to register. The classes are also guaranteed to run so you don’t have to wonder whether what you need to graduate will be available.
One downside of the cohorted model, is that we lose some flexibility. If a program is part-time, you can’t finish in half the time by taking double the classes; if a program is full-time, you can’t just take half the classes. And if something comes up and you need to take a semester off, you might need to wait a year in order to jump back in with the next cohort. However, we feel the benefits of the cohorted model outweigh the limited flexibility it brings. As a result of the cohort model, our programs are much more successful, as we have higher retention and graduation rates.