- Cullman, Alabama

April 11, 2013

WSCC GAP program helps students get head start on their degree


HANCEVILLE — Anyone seeking to enter college, either right out of high school or adult learners entering college for the first time, can get a head start on their course work this summer at Wallace State Community College.

The Wallace State GAP (Get Ahead Plan) program is a five-week program that prepares students for entry level math and English courses. Instructors teach a number of transitional, or developmental, courses in English, reading and math to students who qualify for those classes. Qualification is based upon scores taken from the college placement exam.

“It doesn’t have to be high school students, it can be anybody who wants to get a head start on their first semester,” said Cindy Mallard, WSCC’s Director of Transitional Learning.

This is the second year for the GAP program, Mallard said, and the response from students who took the course last year was extremely positive.

“Students were glad they took the courses. Taking these classes in the summer allowed students to prepare for college level courses, meet new classmates, and familiarize themselves with college. College is scary enough. This opportunity took away a lot of the apprehension that makes students think twice about entering college,” she said.

The GAP program was initiated to help give Wallace State students a better opportunity to succeed on the college level. Close to 70 percent of incoming freshman must take at least one transitional course. An example of a transitional-level course would be Math 090 or 098, Mallard said. Math courses at the 100-level or above are generally required for degrees and transfer credit.

Developmental courses are college credit courses but generally do not count toward a student’s core degree requirements, and depending on Compass placement, students may be required to take up to two levels of developmental courses. The extra time it takes for students to get to the English and math courses that count toward their degree, put some at risk of dropping out of college before completion. The GAP program makes the transition to college-level coursework quicker. With a grade of “C” or better in these courses, students will be able to move on to the next course.

Students can attend classes Monday through Thursday and can enroll in more than one GAP course, up to the full-time class load of 12 to 19 hours.

Success in the GAP program puts students a semester ahead and keeps them on track for graduation. As an added benefit, the student will be able to become familiar with the Wallace State campus during a more-relaxed and less-crowded summer semester.

“It’s a good time to start classes at Wallace State if you have a lot of anxiety about college,” Mallard said of taking classes during the summer GAP program. “It won’t be so overwhelming for them in the fall. They’ll already know the location of buildings and classrooms and more importantly will have met new friends.”

Registration begins May 6. Classes start on May 28 and end on June 27. The summer semester schedule is available online at

For more information, call Cindy Mallard at 256-352-8018 or visit