“You’re Not Late, You’re Early”


Op-Ed by Dr. Patrick Tompkins

Your Eastern Shore Community College safely launched the fall 2020 semester on August 24, but there is still time to enroll in classes.

ESCC is the first community college in Virginia to offer almost all of its classes in 8-week sessions instead of the longer 16-week sessions. Students still have time to apply to the college, apply for financial aid, and enroll in our second fall session that begins in a few weeks. 

And we have financial assistance available to almost everyone. Many students pay no tuition, most students pay reduced tuition. Our total cost of attendance is a small fraction of what it costs to attend a four-year school or a for-profit college.

We’ve got Presidential scholarships, Ratcliffe scholarships, “Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Local” scholarships, the ESCC YES! Tuition Promise, and many, many scholarships funded by generous donors in our community.

Classes are offered in a variety of formats to reduce health risks and maximize educational access. The schedule on our website explains how each class is offered, and we provide contact information for the department chairs so you can ask for more information or personal assistance. 

The technology in our gleaming new academic building allows us to deliver courses so that for some classes that meet on-campus students can participate through Zoom.

ESCC ran a limited number of classes this summer and allowed access to on-campus services. Not a single case of COVID-19 has been traced to the college. Online classes, personal protective equipment, frequent cleaning, and daily health self-assessments reduce risk for students and employees. 

Your Eastern Shore Community College is one of only two in the state that has seen an enrollment increase. Some community colleges have lost 10, 15, even 30% of their fall enrollment, but your college is growing. How do we do it? 

YES! Your Eastern Shore—the college’s culture of hospitality where we welcome all who can benefit from our academic, workforce, GED, ESL, and high school dual enrollment programs. You can earn a credential in a couple of months or enroll in programs that last a semester, a year, or two years and lead to jobs or college transfer.

We’ve also launched our One Door initiative. Many dream of a better life or a new path, but may be uncertain about what programs match their interests and talents. All you have to do is come in One Door, whether through our website, phone, or campus, and we’ll give you the full menu of available programs in healthcare, business, information technology, manufacturing, welding, liberal arts, science, and more.

At ESCC, we know you by name, not by number. Our instructors and staff are your neighbors. Faculty, advisors, and success coaches assist you with learning needs, but also other needs, such as technology, food, housing, and transportation.

Over 120 new students attended orientation a couple of weeks ago. Dozens more visited campus last week for personal service during our Registration Rally Days. Our enrollment leapt by 12%.

And all summer long our faculty have been laying the carpet for your success by redesigning their courses to ensure educational excellence in the pandemic. 

YES! Now is the time to educate your dream—join us.

For information and assistance, visit our website, call (757)789-1720, email studentservices@es.vccs.edu, or come to campus Monday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Dr. Patrick Tompkins serves as vice president of academic, student, and workforce programs at Eastern Shore Community College.