Summer classes give students the flexibility they want
Published: Monday, May 7, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 01:05
Many students spend finals week dreaming about their fun summer vacations, preparing for the exciting new internship they landed or packing their things to spend the summer with their families.
Others, however, are buying new textbooks and pens for the summer classes for which they’re registered.
UCCS offers many summer classes in one of two four-week sessions or one eight-week session between June 11 and August 3. These classes generally meet four days a week for the half-semester sessions, as they are full three-credit-hour classes.
Additionally, there are several two-week long interims offered – one group of these interim classes starts May 14, the Monday after the spring semester ends.
The downside to summer classes is the loss of vacation or potential work time, but many students find this outweighed by the opportunities provided.
“If students have to go year-round and take interims and summer classes, it’s mostly based on need more than it is on anything else,” said Rashell McCann, the program director for undergraduate programs in the College of Business. “If courses are offered, if they’re available, it allows students to perhaps get done earlier or work year-round because of the flexibility of having courses you can make up in the interim or in the summer.”
Summer classes do allow students the ability to rearrange their schedules and have a cushion if the normal academic year gets to be too much – or if they feel they can be doing more and getting done faster.
“It’s either getting ahead or catching up. That’s the majority of it,” said McCann.
Nursing freshman Katie McDonough is one of the students trying to get ahead. “I need to get done with my prerequisites faster,” she said. McDonough has several courses to complete before she can be officially accepted into the nursing program, and she’s ready to be done with the preliminary classes.
McDonough, like many other students, took a lighter load during her freshman year. Summer classes give her the flexibility to get back on track.
Although these classes are intense, she isn’t too worried. “I think it will be nicer because you only have to focus on [one class].”
This is typical for summer students. In fact, most professors report higher test averages and grades in general for these courses.
“It’s focused,” said McCann, who has also noticed the trend toward higher summer grades. “On the other side, I’ve definitely heard the complaint of students that have said it was so hard to get so much work done in a week, or in two weeks.”
For students up to the challenge, however, the intensity can still be rewarding, as it can even out an academic load.
"I’m actually looking at that right now,” said Michelle Gadd, a freshman studying psychology.
Her motivation? “Just to get some stuff out of the way faster,” she said. “I’m also looking at taking less credit hours during the fall semester.”
Gadd believes that taking on a little more in the summer will allow her to balance out her fall schedule, so she can stay on track without being overloaded.
No matter what the individual reason, summer classes are designed to provide students with the options they need to accomplish their goals. McCann said, “It’s all up to the student.”