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College Catalog: Special Programs and Initiatives

15 to Finish

15 to Finish is the title of an initiative at PDCCC to encourage more students to complete their degrees and certificates “on time.” You often hear associate degrees referred to as “two-year degrees.” That’s because it takes two years to finish one if you take an average of 15 credits each fall and spring semester over two years. All of PDCCC’s Associate Degrees require at least 60 credits, some more. 4 semesters x 15 credits per semester = 60 credits. If you take fifteen credits per semester, or 30 credits per year, you are more likely to complete your degree within two years. If you take fewer than 15 credits per semester or 30 credits per year, you will not complete an associate degree on-time, even if you attend full-time for financial aid by taking 12 credits per semester. Likewise, for Certificates and Career Studies Certificates.

There are benefits to on-time completion! Completing on-time saves you time and money. Typically, the cost of tuition, fees, and textbooks goes up each year. The longer you are in college, the more you may have to pay for classes, textbooks and other learning resources. Also, the longer you take to complete your degree or certificate, the less earnings you will have over time. Every semester you are in college without completing the degree or certificate that you need to get hired for a job or pursue your career goals, is a semester that you’ve lost out on earning enough money meet your financial needs now and save for your future.

We know that not every student will take 15 credits every semester. Consider, for example, if you were planning to take just one class, could you maybe take two? Or if you’re taking six credits, could you take nine? Your advisor can help you make a plan to reach your academic goal in the best way possible.

Developmental Studies

The purpose of the Developmental Studies program is to assist students in improving their basic academic skills and to help them enhance their self-confidence in preparation for future academic college courses. The developmental courses are identified with a single-digit prefix (1-9). Since the content includes pre-college basic skills, the courses do not yield college credit. Students are placed into developmental studies courses after an analysis of their scores on placement tests in English, reading, and mathematics, high school transcripts, and other information available concerning their achievement level. Students who are placed in developmental English or mathematics courses may enroll in curriculum courses appropriate to their program of study at the College. Students who are placed in developmental reading are required to complete or co-enroll in reading improvement course before enrolling in curriculum courses.

Developmental mathematics is usually offered in a self-paced lab format. The instructor assists each student by one-on-one contacts during the class. Only those developmental mathematics courses labeled LECTURE on the class schedule have the traditional format of an instructor teaching the whole class at once. Developmental students are encouraged to apply for membership in the College’s Student Support Services Program which is a support system that supplies counseling, tutoring, and culturally enriching activities. Each Developmental Studies course has been developed around specific discipline objectives which have been identified as required for entry into regular curriculum courses. Tests and other diagnostic techniques are administered to determine when the student has met the established course objectives. The student can re-enroll in a Developmental Studies course a second time so that the required objectives can be mastered to the proficiency level required for the intended curriculum. The length of time a student takes to complete the program depends primarily upon the student’s entering ability and the student’s strength of motivation to succeed. Many students can master these skills during the first 15-week semester; others may need to take a year or more of Developmental Studies. In all cases the primary goal of the developmental course is to offer students an opportunity to master the basic academic skills necessary for success in regular college courses.

Repeaters of Developmental Courses

When, in the judgment of the instructor, a student lacks the skills to complete a developmental course successfully:

  • The instructor realistically advises students of their progress and future chances of successfully completing the course.
  • The instructor refers the student to an advisor, coach, or counselor.

Prior to the student/counselor conference, the instructor and counselor should meet and discuss the student’s case.

The advisor, coach, or counselor, when meeting with the student, will discuss:

  • alternate curricular programs not requiring the student to complete the developmental course, and/or
  • alternate educational opportunities should none exist at PDCCC.

Shared Services Distance Learning (SSDL)

Shared Services Distance Learning (SSDL) program in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC). This program allows PDCCC students to access several pre-selected course offerings from the SSDL course schedule. SSDL courses are offered in Fall, Spring and Summer semesters and allows students the opportunity to take courses that PDCCC is not able to offer. The teaching faculty is provided by NVCC and other student support services such as tutoring and help desk are also provided. The contact person for this program is Audrey Lawrence, alawrence@pdc.edu.

Environmental Sustainability Scholars Program (ESSP)

With the global focus on green practices and cultivating an environmentally sustainable society, PDCCC has embraced the challenge of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Environmental Sustainability by offering an Environmental Sustainability Scholars Program. This program focuses on teaching outstanding resource stewardship and raising awareness of how green practices can be incorporated into all aspects life. Students interested in becoming Environmental Sustainability Scholars are required to complete 15 credit hours of courses identified with the Environmental Sustainability Scholars notation. PDCCC offers students a variety of ESSP approved courses. Upon successful completion of the required 15 credit hours, students earn an Environmental Sustainability Scholars designation on their academic transcript.


The variety of courses available to PDCCC students has been increased by a Cross-Registration Agreement within the Virginia Tidewater Consortium under which students at any of the member institutions may enroll in certain courses at any of the other institutions. The cross-registration agreement of the Tidewater Consortium for Continuing Higher Education is as follows:

  • Students at Paul D. Camp Community College may register on a credit or audit basis for courses offered.
  • The grading system of Paul D. Camp Community College will be used by the host institution. Course grade data will be posted on the student’s PDCCC permanent record.
  • Tuition will be charged by PDCCC for a cross-registered course. The student must assume costs for all transportation, books, materials, lab fees, applied music fees, etc.

Normally, the desired course must not be currently available at Paul D. Camp Community College.
Students are governed by rules and regulations of the host institution while in attendance there.

A Cross Registration Form, available from the Office of Admissions, must be completed and signed by the appropriate personnel at the host institution and at PDCCC. Where necessary, the Cross Registration Form will certify that the student has met course prerequisites. Cross registered students must follow the drop/withdrawal regulations at both the host institution and at PDCCC.