Summer courses, while they may sound like an oxymoron, really benefit many students. The student body should be receiving more opportunities as it begins to crave more.
These classes – held during six weeks which usually include being in a classroom for two or three hours in one sitting — go by quicker than you would think. The courses offered are usually general education classes or lower level courses that are required in many majors. This allows students to graduate on time, in case they couldn’t manage their time effectively enough during their college careers or even to graduate early by getting all their gen-eds out of the way in the summer.
While many students believe that summer courses are awful and feel too rushed, I had a very positive experience this summer. I took one course during the Summer Session I and saw many benefits to taking the class.
Specifically, the small class size and the lack of crowded facilities were huge positives. I was able to go to the library in the middle of the day and actually get a computer and a study room, something that seems impossible during the fall and spring semesters. The class sizes are so small that I was able to get all my questions answered by my professor and easily follow the accelerated course because of the individual attention.
Like all classes, however, you get what you put into them. If you do not want to exert any effort when the sun is shining outside, then steer clear of summer classes. When we had the repetitive heat waves this summer my class size went from 20 people to about five. People would even leave in the middle of class in packs as if they already had a pool party planned and class was just a good way to kill time before it. It is probably these students, which find attendance optional, that complain about the work load.
Summer classes are quite clearly divided into two groups. You have those that cannot resist cutting class to tan on Beury Beach and those who are dedicated to continuing their education during the hottest months of the year with the personal attention from professors.
That is not to say that summer courses are without their faults. The biggest problem I have is with the lack of variety. The selection is very limited. Not all the gen-eds are available and there is only a small selection of courses for each required subject.
Beyond that, I didn’t like that there were barely any honors classes available in the summer. Throughout Temple’s campus there are many honors students who must fulfill certain requirements to maintain that distinction. While some of the classes come from your major, most of them are fulfilled through gen-eds. If any student wanted to accelerate his or her studies through summer classes, limited options could definitely cause problems.
While I believe Temple should be expanding its summer courses, not all schools believe that is the right plan. In fact, some places are going in the opposite direction.
In California, after some education budget cuts, one of the first things legislators got rid of was most community college summer programs. This led to outraged students. Many had to commute further to continue their studies in the summer months and, again, faced a very small selection of courses.
But eliminating summer programs is not the answer.
Students aiming to earn higher degrees want to spend less time in their undergraduate programs. The best way to answer this need is to provide a wider selection of summer courses and advertise all the great benefits throughout the campus.
When economic times are tough, students in general seek out graduate degrees to be more competitive in the job market.
In 2010, while applications once again increased, enrollment for graduate programs dropped. This shows that schools are becoming even more competitive, so opportunities to boost GPAs and buff up transcripts are more important than ever. That is exactly what summer classes can offer. Students need a large variety of summer courses to really compete for spots at top graduate schools.
College is already such a crazy, hectic time for students. Temple should work to give students every advantage possible.
My advice to Temple would be to invest in summer courses. I already took one and loved the experience. I just wish I had more to choose from.
Coryandar Gilvary can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.