Recent graduates from Ivy Tech Community College’s Columbus campus say their experience in a program that allowed them to earn an associate’s degree in a year’s time has been positive.

Karoline Field, 19, of North Vernon, was among nine individuals who graduated this spring from Ivy Tech’s Associate Accelerated Program, or ASAP, with a liberal arts associate’s degree.

The associate’s degree offered by Ivy Tech is traditionally a two-year program, but a heavy course load allows students to move through the accelerated program in half that time.

Students in the ASAP program start by taking 13 credit hours in the summer, followed by 24 credit hours in the fall and 22 or 23 hours in the spring, depending on what program they are in, said Heather McDonald, ASAP coordinator for Ivy Tech’s Columbus campus.

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In comparison, a traditional student seeking an associate’s degree would take 15 credit hours that would make them full-time for financial-aid purposes, McDonald said.

Field learned about ASAP, which began three years ago, at a college fair held at Jennings County High School, from where she graduated in 2016. She started in the college program a week after her high school graduation.

“I got really excited when I heard about it,” she said.

Several of her high school classes were dual-credit, which transferred over to the ASAP program, and allowed her to lighten her class workload, Field said.

“It was definitely time-consuming, but well worth it,” she said.

Field plans to continue her education to earn a bachelor’s degree, although she hasn’t decided what field she will study. Education remains a viable option since her mother is a teacher, she said.

Several of Field’s courses she took under the ASAP program will also help her earn a bachelor’s degree sooner.

“That was a big plus for me,” she said.

Field also said she highly recommends the program to other individuals, noting that it allowed her to build up her confidence and public speaking-skills as well.

“If you’re trying to get through something quick, this is the way to do it,” she said.

John Waddle, a 2016 graduate of Columbus Signature Academy — New Tech High School, also participated in the ASAP program and said he enjoyed the small-sized classes that were offered. Waddle plans to attend the University of Winnipeg later this year to study journalism and encouraged other individuals to consider enrolling.

“Overall, I found that it was much more driven and productive,” Waddle said of the program.

Four other individuals are also slated to graduate from the ASAP program at Ivy Tech’s Columbus campus this summer, said Chris Schilling, director of marketing and recruitment for Ivy Tech Community College Columbus/Southeast.

Currently, the campus allows students a chance to earn an associate’s degree in liberal arts through the ASAP program, but will be offering students opportunities to earn an associate’s degree in business administration starting this fall, Schilling said.

“The business administration program prepares students with sound principles they can apply in all industries, including non-profit organizations and education,” said Dave Donnell, dean of the Ivy Tech division of business, public and social services. “The expansion of ASAP to offer an accelerated business administration degree will provide students with meaningful experiences on their path toward their educational and career goals.”

About the program

To be admitted into Ivy Tech’s ASAP program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • A referral or nomination by a high school guidance counselor
  • A minimum 2.5 high school grade point average
  • A strong high school attendance record
  • No older than 21 years of age
  • Parent or guardian agreement to provide room and board while the student is enrolled in the program.

Tuition for the ASAP associate’s degree is $7,989, although scholarships based on financial eligibility are available.

Applications are still being accepted for the next ASAP program, which begins June 6.

Information: Contact Heather McDonald, ASAP coordinator for Ivy Tech, at 812-374-5236, or visit

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or