Focus to Finish

Washington State is serious about student success. That’s why we have changed our course schedule to feature 8-week classes. Yep, we've changed the way you go to college so you can Focus to Finish on your degree or certificate

Why 8-weeks?

With traditional 16-week semesters, it’s easy to run out of steam before reaching your goal. WSCO now offers two shorter 8-week sessions for most classes, proven to put you on the path to success.

Why is the eight-week model so great?

  • Avoid the burnout most students get with long semesters.
  • Avoid feeling overwhelmed with fewer courses to take at the same time.
  • Avoid juggling multiple assignments and deadlines.

But don’t just take our word for it. Studies show that full-time students who take just two or three classes every eight weeks are better able to maintain focus and excel. By the ninth week of a traditional semester, burnout tends to take a toll and drop-out rates become noticeably higher. With the eight-week model, students should experience a lower chance of burnout due to the shortened terms.

Eight-week classes are a good fit for everyone, including students who are juggling work/parenting, and those who might have struggled academically in the past. With the shorter 8-week sessions, less is really more!

How does it work?

The 8-week class format breaks the standard 16-week semester into two sessions that are 8-weeks each. You will still take the same number of classes as you would in a 16-week semester, but now you divide the number between the two 8-week sessions. For instance, if you normally take 5 classes in a 16-week semester, the first 8-weeks you might take 3 classes and in the second 8-weeks you might take 2 classes.

Focus to Finish chart


How do 8-week classes work?

8-week classes have the same content and learning outcomes as the 16-week classes that are currently offered at WSCO. Simply put, 8-week classes will meet more often than 16-week classes which allows you to complete the class in half the time. You’ll be learning the same information in half the time!

There are two 8-week sessions in fall semester and two 8-week sessions in spring semester. Summer term at WSCO will not change (it is already just 8-weeks in length).

How many classes can I take in an 8-week session?

WSCO recommends that students take 2-3 classes each 8-week session. As an example, you may want to take three classes in the first 8-weeks and two classes in the second 8-weeks. Remember, these classes condense the content of a regular 16-week term into just 8-weeks so the goal is to take fewer classes at a time.

Do I need to enroll in both 8-week sessions at once?

Yes. It is important to register for the entire semester which includes both 8-week sessions. Registering early (and for both 8-week sessions at the same time) will ensure that you get the courses you need on the days/times that work best for your schedule.

Plus, your enrollment status (ie. full-time, part-time) is determined based on the total number of credit hours that you are registered for in the full semester. If you are using financial aid, this enrollment status determines the type and amount of financial aid that you are eligible to receive.

Once you are registered for classes, you should contact your Academic Advisor or Financial Aid if you need to make changes to your schedule.

What will be the dates for adding, dropping or withdrawing from 8-week classes?

The 8-week sessions have different dates for adding, dropping or withdrawing than the full 16-week term. You should become familiar with these dates prior to the start of the term so you can make informed decisions about schedule changes after classes begin. Dates will be posted on the WSCO academic calendar. Remember, everything about the 8-weeks classes are accelerated...which means the window to add/drop/withdraw will also be shorter.

How many credit hours will I get for an 8-week class?

Credit hours for your classes will not change. For example, if you take two 3-credit classes in an 8-week format, you will earn six credit hours. You are still learning the same content with the same learning outcomes...just in a shortened amount of time.

Will I have a choice to take 16 or 8-week classes?

No, the format of courses will be determined by your program of study and the required courses in your program. There may be a mix of 8-week and 16-week classes, but there is not a choice between the two.

How do I achieve full-time status with Focus to Finish’s 8-week model?

Full-time status is based on the number of credit hours you are registered for in a semester. Taking at least 12 credit hours in a semester—combining 8-Week Session I, 8-Week Session II, and 16-Week Session if applicable—makes you a full-time student.

For example, if you have 6 credits in 8-week Session 1, 3 credits in 8-week Session II, and 3 credits in the 16-week Session, you have a total of 6+3+3=12 credits.

How much time will I spend in class? How long will my classes be?

The number of required hours for each class will not change-but instead, those hours will be covered in a shorter amount of time, 8-weeks versus 16-weeks. At the same time, you will be taking fewer classes at a time to allow you to focus on those classes.

Will I have to do the same amount of work in 8-week sessions as I would in 16-week sessions?

The content of each course stays the same in 8-week sessions but the pace of the work is quicker. But by taking half as many classes at once, you can devote more of your attention and energy to each.

Will my instructor answer my emails and questions in a timely fashion?

Yes! In 8-week classes, both students and faculty are able to focus on fewer courses at once, letting them devote more of their time, attention, and energy to achieving the best possible educational outcome for our students.

I'm a CCP student. What does this change mean for my athletic eligibility?

For high school athletic eligibility, 8-week CCP classes are multiplied X4.  For example:
One 8-week CCP course = 4 credits for high school athletic eligibility
One 16-week CCP course = 2 credits for high school athletic eligibility

Remember to always check with your College Pathway Advisor at WSCO and your high school guidance counselor if you want to make any changes to your schedule to ensure you maintain eligibility.

How will my financial aid be affected with 8-week classes?

Financial aid is based on enrollment status in a semester, regardless of whether a course is in the 8-week or 16-week format. If you are using financial aid, this enrollment status determines the type and amount of financial aid that you are eligible to receive.

Please note that—because financial aid is based on enrollment status, that is, the number of credits—dropping or withdrawing from courses can change your status and impact your aid eligibility. If you need to make changes to your schedule, please be sure to contact WSCO’s Financial Aid Office for guidance before you make the change at 740.568.1900 or

I’m a Veteran. Will my VA benefits be affected if I take 8-week classes?

No, your benefits will not be affected as long as you remain a full-time student. The VA will pay your benefits during the dates of each term that you enroll. If you are not a full-time student, your monthly housing allowance will be prorated based on the number of credit hours you are taking.

If you have questions regarding your VA benefits, please contact Heather McCullough at or 740.885.5663.

When should I get my books at the bookstore?

To ensure that you have the most options for purchasing textbooks (including access to used books and rentals), it is best to get your books for the entire semester.
If you plan to use your financial aid to purchase your textbooks, you must purchase your books during the “charge dates”, which typically begin the week before the start of the semester through the second Friday of classes.