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Summer session at USU, when the air is warm and learnin’ is easy

April 5th, 2012 Posted in Arts and Life

By Kristi Ottley

LOGAN—More class offerings, smaller class sizes, better parking options, inexpensive housing, and great outdoor activities are just a few reasons USU students like summer semester.

“It was the best decision I made,” said USU alum Chelsea Amdal. “Taking classes summer semester allowed me to finish my schooling a semester earlier, and ultimately resulted in getting a job I would not have been able to if I hadn’t completed my education early.”

Summer semester on Utah State campus consists of two sessions. The first is a four-week session from May 7-June 1. The second session lasts seven weeks, beginning June 4 and ending in time for the Pioneer Holiday on July 18. During the second session, classes are held Monday through Thursday, giving students and faculty three-day weekends and allowing them plenty of time to enjoy summer in Cache Valley, said Lisa Hancock, USU’s program administrator of new student orientation.

The other thing about summer school at USU is that it’s very small—only 2,300 to 2,500 students are on campus, says James Morales, USU vice president for Student Services. “We’d love to see that number double,” he said. “We’d love to see it be 5,000 and maybe a little higher.”

The push behind summer semester is to provide students with opportunities to get ahead in their schooling or caught up if they have fallen behind, Morales said. It is a way for students to enroll in classes that often are full during the regular school year.

“Some students reach roadblocks on their paths for getting their degree when they cannot get into a high-demand class and have to wait for another semester to be able to get in the class,” Morales said. Summer semester can help alleviate that problem by offering more high-demand classes during both sessions.

Smaller class sizes are another reason summer semester is attractive. They allow students more personal attention and one-on-one time with professors, and—for many—a less intimidating atmosphere for learning.

“I loved the smaller classes during summer semester,” Amdal said. “I enjoyed my classes more and feel I learned better.”

And summer session is a better deal for non-resident and international students. Everyone pays the same in-state tuition, regardless of whether they are from Logan, Moab, Denver or the Dominican Republic, with the exception of intensive English- language courses, Morales said.

“It is good value for your money whether or not you are an out-of-state student,” said Hancock.

Students attending summer semester can also catch a break on prices for parking permits on campus and housing, both on- and off-campus. Not many students take advantage of summer semester, so landlords offer less expensive rents to fill their apartments, said Hancock.

“It is a more relaxed atmosphere on campus,” Morales said. “During the summer semester there is a different vibe, a different feel to the campus.”

One big change coming this summer semester is class scheduling, Morales said. In the past, classes often overlapped, which made it difficult for students to have a full schedule. This will not be the case summer 2012. The classes will all be offered at standardized times so students can take just a couple classes or a full schedule if they desire.

“Students can really put together a solid package of two, three, maybe even four classes; get them done in a short time frame instead of a 15- to 16-week semester in Fall or Spring,” Morales said.

The University wants to make it as easy for students to complete their education, earn their degrees, and begin their careers as they can. “It’s about providing students with another opportunity to get ahead or catch up and complete their degree in a timely fashion,” Morales said.

With three-day weekends and more than a month of summer still to enjoy at the end of the seven-week session, students can take advantage of the many summer festivities and outdoor recreation activities available around Cache Valley. The beautiful waters of Bear Lake beckon to students from a mere 40 miles up Logan Canyon. The Cache Valley Cruise-In is a unique and fun car show with a variety of activities on the first weekend in July. Summerfest Arts Faire is an annual festival that takes place in Logan featuring many local and nonlocal artists in a fun and festive atmosphere.

“Logan is a wonderful place to be in the summer,” said Morales. “There are a number of things we can do in the summer we cannot do during spring or fall semesters; summer concerts and many outdoor activities.”

Utah State’s Outdoor Recreation Department also will offer students unique opportunities not available during the regular season, including backpacking and hiking trips.

“It is a great place to live and it is inexpensive to live here during the summer,” Hancock said. Summer session at USU “is a lot of fun and a great way to get ahead without getting burned out.”

Registration for summer semester 2012 is open to students beginning Monday. Click here for more information about USU summer semester.


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