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Originally published October 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 28, 2007 at 11:53 AM

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Three avenues

Branching out Xheni (Jenny) Diko, 19, Monroe UW Bothell She's taking basic required courses as she mulls a major in interdisciplinary studies...

Branching out

Xheni (Jenny) Diko, 19,

Monroe

UW Bothell

She's taking basic required courses as she mulls a major in interdisciplinary studies/community psychology.

Why she chose it: "I knew I wanted to go to UW, but I also knew I wanted to live at home," says the Albanian-born Diko. "So when I heard UW Bothell was going to accept freshmen, I thought, 'Perfect.' "

Why she likes it: "The classes are small. My calculus class had 16 or 20 people; chemistry has 10 people. You get a good university education here for the price [about $6,000 for the year]. The teachers know you by name."

Applied bachelor's degrees

Mike Bailey, 47, Normandy Park

Bellevue Community College

The downturn after Sept. 11 eliminated his airline job, so Bailey earned an A.A. degree in radiation therapy from BCC in 2005 and landed a job as a radiation therapist. Hoping to move into management, he's in the first class studying for a new degree offered in Washington only at BCC: a bachelor of applied science in radiation and imaging sciences.

Why he chose it: The online, evening and weekend classes fit Bailey's work schedule, and as a BCC grad, his credits all transfer into the two-year program. "When you're trying to move up within an organization, or be hired by another clinic, those four-year degrees are becoming pretty valuable."

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Why he likes it: "BCC's program has a very good reputation, great instructors."

Contract-university

programs

Marlo Harmsen, 29, Puyallup

Central Washington University at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

With her two girls, ages 4 and 5, nearing school age, Harmsen, who already had an A.A. in arts and sciences from Central Washington University, returned to school to become a teacher. She's in the first class studying for a bachelor's degree in elementary education through CWU's new contract-university pilot program at Pierce.

Why she chose it: "It was a perfect fit — it's nearby, I had my A.A. degree and they help you get on track with prerequisites to get into the program. They have night classes, which I need, having kids."

Why she likes it: "I always kind of wanted to be a teacher. And the instructors are very knowledgeable and excited about the program. They want you to gain the knowledge, attitude and strategies to succeed. They share their life experiences as well."

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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