Are weekend classes worth it?

One of the options offered through the School of Social Work are a number of wonderful certifications.  I have chosen to work towards my Certificate in Nonprofit Management.  For those of you who are looking at the Advanced Standing program, an additional certification may seem a little daunting.  I’m here to tell you, though, that it’s completely possible!  The nonprofit certificate requires 5 courses, which is 1 more elective than Advanced Standing has room for elective-wise.

I have chosen to finish my certification in the same amount of time as my MSW, which means that I am taking an overload both semesters.  We are all warned about overloading, but I have found that I can split up that 1 more elective by only taking 1.5 hours of overload each semester.  For the fall, this has meant a single weekend class.

This weekend I embarked on this weekend class: Facilitation Skills offered through the UNC School of Government.  We met from 1:00-5:30pm on Friday and 9:00am-5:00pm on Saturday.  There was reading and two online modules to complete beforehand, and we now have a reflection paper due in two weeks.  I’ve gone back and forth about if this was the best way to get my hours and, after completing the weekend, I believe I made the correct decision.

When I signed up for this course, my thought process was that it wouldn’t feel like an overload because there would only be one weekend when I had more work than usual.  As time approached, I realized that this particular weekend class was RIGHT around midterms and I began to regret my decision.  I had so much else to do for my regular classes, how could I possibly have time to spend an entire weekend in another class?  Especially with all the prep-time I had to do the week before!

I have now come out on the other side, and I am once again happy with my decision.  All that stands between me and 1.5 hours of credit is a reflection paper!  How cool is that?  And sitting in class all day on a Saturday wasn’t as painful as I thought it might be.  Facilitation skills, as one might suspect, is a very interactive class.  It felt much more like a workshop than an academic class and it was mostly built of role play and observation.  It really did teach me a lot of good skills and techniques!  I even began to wonder if I should have taken the other available weekend class (Mediation Skills) earlier this semester.

Overall, it was challenging to devote so much of my weekend away when I had a lot to do for my other classes.  However, I have not had to worry about it at all until now and now it’s over!  Not a bad experience at all, and I came away from it with a lot!  If it’s a topic that truly interests you: I actually do suggest the weekend classes!  I think it would be more difficult if it wasn’t a topic I was excited about, but facilitation is something we can all use! And hey, I still have all day Sunday to worry about my midterms!

I hope your take away from this post is that if you’re interested in Advanced Standing and a Certificate — go for it!  It’s a little extra work.  It’s a little extra time.  But it’s completely possible and, in my case, completely worth it.


About Sarah Tencer

Hello! My name is Sarah Tencer and in 2012 I received my BSW from Appalachian State University and immediately jumped into the Advanced Standing program here at UNC! I am thrilled to be a part of this community and to expand my knowledge and experiences in Social Work. I am part of the CMPP concentration and am doing my field placement at the United Way of the Greater Triangle. Here, I am gaining exposure to coalition building, grant writing, legislative agendas, and program planning/evaluation. I am happily available to answer any questions you may have about CMPP, Advanced Standing, being an out-of-state student, or getting plugged into the school or community outside of the SSW! My email address is
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