Summer Term: Perspectives and Facts

by Connor Parks and Soren Ryan-Jensen

With the rollout of the 2024 Summer Term program, Centre students have a new opportunity over their summer break: a five-week period where students can live on or off campus and complete a single class. For $3,900, or $2,340 if you live off-campus, students can take classes which may cover E1, E2, or E3 requirements, or count towards majors and general education requirements. The hope is that the Summer Term can help students to knock out requirements early or focus more heavily on challenging classes. 

From the faculty perspective, Summer Term exists to provide Centre students–who are interested in summer courses–with an education superior to what is being provided by other colleges. Dr. Amos Tubb, the program’s spear header, was inspired to begin these offerings due to “dozens of Centre students” per year enrolling in summer courses at other universities in order to complete their major/gen ed requirements. Through Dr. Tubb’s promotion, Summer Term has been branded to faculty (who’ve likely promoted it to you in class already) as a useful way to further one’s major track and allows them to take courses under Centre professors – a more enriching education than what may be found elsewhere. Quelling many common preconceived notions about the Term, Dr. Tubb and others explained that any ideas about the program serving as a “cash grab” for the school are baseless, as any real financial benefit to the school would only come with potential long-term student retention. Indeed, on paper, Summer Term courses are cheaper per credit hour compared to credit hours from the normal school year cycle, although it is worth noting that this is assuming a student is paying the full $63,590 cost of attendance. For many students, Summer Term courses may actually be more expensive per credit hour than fall, winter, or spring classes, yet the knowledge that these courses exist for reasons other than simply financial benefits for Centre is comforting. 

So what has been the students’ response? Well, honestly, it has been lackluster. According to some professors in the know, you can count all students planning to enroll in a Summer Term class with two hands. This may be because of a whole host of factors, but the two most common complaints with Summer Term seem to be that students are already busy during the summer, and that the courses offered don’t offer much for many students. 

Summer is already an important time for students, many of whom are working, interning, or doing research. For these students, the career calculus means that taking a class which may expedite their major simply isn’t as valuable as experiences which may directly tie into their life after Centre. This is especially true for pre-medicine students, who may be studying or taking the MCAT during this period. 

Another point of contention is the actual list of classes being offered. The majority of the classes being offered are introductory courses, and while this alone is not a bad thing, many students (including first-years) have already taken introductory courses in their major by the time summer comes around. Naturally, this may impact the number of students seeking out these courses. Speaking as a biochemistry and molecular biology major, I might have been enticed by upper level courses in my major. But personally, as a current sophomore, I have taken all the introductory courses I will ever take. 

For other students, however, the Summer Term courses being offered are exactly what they need. As advising nears its end and the registration cycle begins again, administration believes that more students will sign up for classes over the summer. In time, we will see how registration plays out: Dr. Tubb has expressed his belief that the term will be successful into the future, while others have expressed serious doubts as to its long-term potential. How many students sign up for summer courses this year may very well determine the future of Summer Term. 

Looking to the future, we hope Summer Term stays, as it could be very helpful to plenty of students. Personally, I hope that more Study Abroad and Away programs may be offered during the summer. I know many other students struggle with fitting studying abroad into their already tight schedules, and I see Summer Term as a very viable solution to this problem. Either way, this will be an interesting experiment for Centre’s offerings that we truly hope will have the best results for everyone involved. 

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