College Express “right fit” for adults

Photo submitted Chad Harris is participating in the College Express program and will graduate in December.

This fall, Walters State Community College will offer a general studies degree through its popular College Express program. This curriculum not only leads to an associate of science degree, but also provides the general education courses needed for most of the college’s programs.

“College Express is a cohort,” said Cathy Woods, executive director of distance education.

“Students start and finish the program together. Courses are offered in five-week blocks. Students generally take one class at a time and attend one or two nights a week,” Woods said.

For students like Chad Harris, the program has provided a convenient transition back into learning.

Harris spent 13 years in his first career, but he reached a point where he wanted to make a career change. The Sevier County native just didn’t think he could do that without quitting his day job and taking general education classes over several semesters. Then a friend told Harris about Walters State’s College Express Program.

“If it weren’t for College Express, I probably would have just stayed in pest control. I wanted to do something more fulfilling and College Express showed me how I could reach my goal of being a nurse,” Harris said. He was admitted to the college’s nursing program on his first try and will graduate in December.

The program fit perfectly into Harris’ life.

“I did not want to quit my day job and spend two years trying to get all of my general education courses in before I could even apply for the nursing program. For me, this made it possible to come back to school,” Harris said.

“When you’re enrolled in College Express, you don’t have to worry so much about registration and financial aid. Cathy helped us with all of that. If we had a problem, she was an advocate. We did not have to come to the college during the daytime to handle paperwork problems,” Harris said.

College Express begins Aug. 24. While this year’s cohort is for general studies, the classes needed for admission to pre-allied health programs are included.

For more information, contact Woods at 423-585-2661 or

Over 6,200 credit and 4,000 non-credit students attend Walters State. The college has campuses in Morristown, Greeneville, Sevierville and Tazewell. It offers over 100 associate degrees and technical certificates. Visit Walters State’s website at

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