The perks of being a summer student

Erin McGroarty/Sun Star Reporter
August 28, 2012

The Wood Center stays open during the summer to accomodate the influx of summer sessions students populating the campus. Erin McGroarty/ Sun Star

Summer in Alaska is a wonderful and much anticipated time of year. For those staying at UAF June through August, Summer Sessions provides students with an affordable and convenient way to earn course credits.

Summer Sessions provides classes that are available during the normal school year and some special classes only available in the summer. This year 314 classes were offered. This includes courses that are required for all students in a degree program, and that can fill up quickly during the fall and spring semesters. Summer sessions allow for more space and a smaller class size, as well as a greater chance of getting into a preferred class. Many students going into medical fields are required to complete Anatomy and Physiology. Since popular courses like these are full during the fall and spring semesters, students may have an easier time enrolling in these classes in the summer.

The summer semester is divided up into 4 sessions: one two week intensive session known as MAYmester, two 6-week sessions and a full-length session that lasts all summer.

“MAYmester, is a great way to complete general education requirements that you might otherwise have trouble motivating yourself to complete,” Natalie Wilson, sophomore biology student. “Summer Session I & II was [sic] good for courses with a little more content.”

Students are able to take up to 15 credits during the summer. Tuition increases every few years and by taking summer classes, students can save time and money, according to Michelle Bartlett, director of Summer Sessions. At UAF, it takes the average student longer than four years to finish their undergraduate degree, Bartlett said. Completing credits during the summer will make graduating in four years a more reachable goal.

Summer Sessions is working to make classes more affordable and convenient for students, according to Bartlett. The “Sweet Summer Deal” program was created in 2011. This program gives students the opportunity to take 14 credits and only pay for the first ten. UAF will pay for the remaining  four credits. Summer Sessions is  working to provide more summer scholarships so more students can take summer classes.

“We pride ourselves on being there for students and being an advocate for the students,” Bartlett said. “But up until now, UAF was listed 51st in the nation as far as how many needs-based scholarships we provide and that’s pretty pathetic if you ask me.”

According to Bartlett, 47 events were organized across campus this summer to provide a more enjoyable and entertaining atmosphere for summer sessions student. These included free films in the library, concerts at the Botanical Gardens, and guest lecturers. The summer season also lends itself to more creative classes, such as extensive field schools that would be impossible during winter months.

“I can’t personally think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to complete your college career sooner, and summer sessions is a great way to do that,” Bartlett said.

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