MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Link Learning is an education program that offers students an alternative way to earn credit toward their high school diploma. With three physical U.P. locations in Escanaba, Marquette, and Menominee providing services to students across the entire U.P., the program is becoming an increasingly popular mode for students to learn with a mix of virtual and on-site teaching.

“Most of them come to us about six credits short, so they’re behind,” said Executive Director Kristi Teall. “And our goal is to get them caught up and be able to either one, get their diploma with us or in many cases they’re able to go back to their traditional high school as well. It really depends on what it is that they want to do.”

While there is no one prerequisite reason why students enroll with Link Learning, many have struggled with the format in traditional schools. Link Learning switches up this approach by typically having students take one course at a time.

“What we have found is by offering one class at a time they’re able to focus on one thing,” Teall said. “Rather than, think about when you and I were in school. We had six or seven classes going all at the same time, and sometimes that’s very overwhelming to students, which is part of the reason why they get behind. So by offering one class at a time, they’re able to take it in chunks and get those small wins as they go.”

With no preset schedule when enrolling, students are able to edit their own timeline to graduation by deciding how many hours each week they’ll invest into the class they’re taking. A graduation calculator allows Link Learning to break down the path to completion with each student, and create a custom method based on the student’s availability throughout the week. While the swap to a custom schedule can be tough for some students, that freedom can also represent a way for students to schedule their studies in ways that are more effective for them.

“It took a little bit to get used to, not having to wake up so early or setting my own schedule, doing one class at a time, but in the end it worked out really well,” said Daryn Day, a recent graduate of Link Learning. “I’d say it’s a good choice. Being able to work at your own pace, it’s a lot better than some places in my opinion. Instead of having to work on eight classes a day, being able to work on one class at your own pace. And a lot less distracting, honestly.”

While that change in schedule can be a difficult transition for some, working with Link Learning to customize it for what works best around the student’s schedule can provide a relief for parents who’ve seen their child struggle in the traditional school format.

“In our experience, I did notice that when me and my son first started discussing him doing an online school he was worried about being able to stay on task, whereas in a normal brick and mortar school you have a set set of classes that you go to every day,” said Bobbie Pazolt, Day’s mother. “It worked out good for my son because he honestly didn’t realize how he could set his own schedule. He doesn’t have to be up at six, seven in the morning and start his school work if it doesn’t work for him. He’s a better learner in the afternoon, so he was able to start working his school day later in the day.”

While Link Learning has physical locations in three U.P. towns, students from across the U.P. are eligible to enroll. You can learning more by visiting any of the locations, going to Link Learning’s website here, or by calling an enrollment specialist at (906) 273-0497.