More and more college students are taking five or six years to earn a four-year degree. This costs them not only time, but also thousands of tuition dollars. With all those odds against them, how are students supposed to graduate on time?
"Because we have a lot of our students who are working during the academic year, it really helps them if they can pick up a summer class or two to graduate on time," said Greg Summers, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Provost and Vice Chancellor.
Essy Brown is a clinical lab science major at UW-Stevens Point. In order for her to be ready for some special classes in the fall, she has required courses to complete now.
"I've taken classes throughout the whole year, fall, winter, spring, and now summer, just so I can get done within the four years," Brown said. "I have a family, I have other things I need to get back to, and it's important to finish on time."
Students all have an account on D2L, which is a program that allows them to take their classes online. College students today turn in assignments, post to discussion boards, and interact with their professors and classmates virtually. This makes it possible for students to take classes on their computers over the summer.
"Online classes are always helpful to students who are place-bound, who can't attend a class on campus," said Summers. "They have jobs, they might have a family, so whether it's during the academic year or it's a summer session it can be helpful."
Many students stick around campus for the summer and take courses in the classroom. Some students even take classes at community colleges or tech schools near their hometowns, and transfer those credits to four-year universities like Stevens Point.
"It depends on the class, but we try to encourage the transfer ability of credits and have been working on that pretty hard as systems of higher education," said Summers. "The summer session is one of the best times to pick up classes where they happen to live locally and transfer them back to their home institutions."
Summer courses are usually shorter than semester courses, making the workload heavier for students.
"Most of them are during the day, early during the day so you still have the rest of the day to do whatever you want." said Brown.
That just means students need extra determination to get homework done.
"I've taught a lot of summer classes as a faculty member and I've found them to be more satisfying classes to teach," said Summers. "It is a more intensive environment, and you really do have to focus."
Though studying in the summer is more difficult because of the nice weather, it can be worth it in the race to graduate on time.