Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about ONWARD, Wheaton's new partnership with The Orchard Network.
What is a cohort?
A cohort is simply a group of people brought together for a common purpose. In a cohort model, students stay together as a group throughout the program. The goal of a cohort is for you to build lasting relationships with a learning community that stays together for the entire length of the program.
The cohort model means that your fellow students will be taking each course with you, allowing you to develop deep life relationships with others who are hungry to expand their biblical knowledge for Christ and His Kingdom.
What is the format for the classes in the cohort?
For the ONWARD Cohort, you will be a part-time Wheaton student and will finish both the Evangelism and Leadership degree and The Orchard Network training in a little over two years.
Wheaton classes are weeklong intensives, in-person (not online), and have pre- and post-class assignments. They run from Monday-Saturday, 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break.
The Orchard Network’s classes meet on Friday mornings from 8:30 a.m.–noon for 20 weeks during the ministry year (Aug-May). The internship is 150 hours completed over the course of two years, with the final reflection and written report being completed in the Spring of your second year. Upon successful completion of The Orchard Network classes and certain Wheaton classes, you will receive 12 credits of Advanced Standing for the towards the Wheaton M.A. Please note, these credits cannot be transferred to another institution.
Is this Wheaton’s program alone or does The Orchard Network create content?
The courses that you take through Wheaton in the M.A. in Evangelism and Leadership degree are designed by Wheaton faculty who have years of experience planting churches, publishing articles and books, and training other evangelism leaders in conferences and the classroom.
The courses that you take through The Orchard Network are developed by them and meet the rigorous academic requirements of Wheaton College. Because of this, you will receive 12 credits of advanced standing for The Orchard Network’s courses towards your M.A., 8 for course work and 4 for your internship.
What is The Orchard Network scholarship?
Self-paced students through The Orchard Network who enroll in the degree receive a 25% tuition discount.
If The Orchard Network gathers a group of 15-25 students who take the classes at the same time and progress through the degree together, then each member of the that group will receive any extra 10% discount for a total of a 35% tuition discount. (If at any time the cohort drops below 15 students, the discount would revert to 25%.)
What are the benefits of being in the ONWARD cohort versus going at my own pace?
If you join an ONWARD cohort of 15-25 students, you will take the courses with the same group, building lasting relationships as a learning community. In addition, each member of the cohort will receive a 35% tuition discount.
However, if you decide not to join the cohort, but you are enrolled in The Orchard Network training program, you will be able to take the Wheaton courses at your own pace with other non-cohort students in the Evangelism and Leadership program. In addition, you would receive a 25% tuition discount.
We ask that you decide at the start of the program whether you will join the cohort or choose the self-paced option.
What if I need to miss a cohort class?
Students who need to miss a class in the cohort schedule must get advanced approval from their advisor and work out a method to make up the course credits. Please note, depending on the situation, classes taken outside of the cohort may only receive the 25% discount rate.
How do I get started?
Fill out the ONWARD Application
Start your application on the Wheaton website by creating your profile and selecting “The Orchard Network” on the checkbox in order to qualify for the tuition discount.
Deadlines for admission are on a rolling basis, but it is recommended you apply early.
The deadline for registering for a course with advanced work assignments is one month prior to the first day of class.