Many opportunities are available for students to catch up to or move ahead of their peers during summer session — so much so that it’s causing CSU to offer more chances for students to enroll in summer programs.
Over the years, the course schedule for the summer session has retained 95 percent of the same courses. But in recent years departments have been adding new courses for students to take outside of the regular school year.
Some of the courses include Evaluation of Primate Behavior from the Anthropology Department, Farm Animal Anatomy/Physics from Animal Sciences and Environmental Economics from Agriculture and Resource Economics.
One area of study that is utilizing the summer session is the Foreign Languages department. LSPA 105, 107, 200 and 201 are all Spanish Immersion Courses that allow students the chance to use their language skills outside of the classroom.
“They might go to a Hispanic restaurant and order their meals speaking only Spanish,” explained Barbara Gotshall, director for Summer Sessions.
While the courses give students the opportunity to utilize their skills outside of campus, Gotshall said that there has not been a big turnout for the courses. She went on to describe the two big barriers that stand in the way of students enrolling in summer session.
“The largest barrier to summer school is students needing to work,” she said. “The second barrier is financial aid.”
Gotshall explained that when Pell Grants were taken away in 2012, the program saw a four percent decrease in summer enrollment.
Gotshall also said that the program’s website needed revamping.
“We found that students were not picking up the paper registration forms but were going to our website to look at classes,” she said. “This year we are only allowing students to look at and register for classes online.”
There is one program that gives students the chance to earn credit even before they enter college. The Bridge Scholars Program lets students who have graduated from high school spend eight weeks in the residence halls while enrolled in six credits hours.
“Faculty members were surprised at incoming students writing skills,” said Oscar Felix, Executive Director for the Access Center. “We saw that high schools were not preparing students for CSU.”
Felix said that this explains why the students are enrolled in CO 150 and SOC 100 to improve incoming students’ writing abilities while also exposing them to a typical lecture course that they can come to expect at CSU.
The students who are admitted into the program must be first generation students who come from low-income families on financial aid. Furthermore, they must have graduated from schools that are not as academically rigorous or that are situated in neighborhoods that are not quite so affluent.
Felix said the program has partnerships with high schools throughout Colorado.
“We receive students from Adams City High School and other Denver area schools,” he said. “We also get a lot of students from Greeley High School.”
Students in the Bridge Scholars Program are required to study in the evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every weekday while under supervision and are also given curfews. Felix calls it “academic boot camp.”
“It gets students used to the hours of study,” Felix said. “Many of them keep the skills as they get older and often come back to say thanks.”