Finish your degree on time by signing up for summer classes

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Graphic by Spencer Light | The Broadside (Contact: slight@cocc.edu)

By Ezra Neumann | The Broadside (Contact: eneumann@cocc.edu)

Summer break has been seen by students nationwide as an escape from the grip of education, and a time to cool off and indulge in the lack of schedules and academic responsibility.

Central Oregon Community College provides students with the option to either attend school year-round or take the summer off. However, depending on individual goals and their plans for the future, summer term could have a drastic impact.

To receive an Associate’s degree, students are told they have to join a two-year plan, and since full time is labeled as 12 credits per term, it seems reasonable to say that within that time students can earn their degree.

After doing the math, one might be surprised at how much longer it takes to receive an  Associate’s degree without attending summer term at about 12 credits per term. After six terms, or two years, students will receive on average 72 credits, which will leave students with close to 20 credits short of their degree. If students were aiming to receive their degree without doing 19 credit terms, the answer is to attend summer term.

Summer term may provide students with an opportunity to receive their degree in the fastest way possible, but not all students feel it is necessary to receive the degree in such a hasty fashion.

There are more benefits to Summer term then just being able to wrap up a degree faster. A good deal of the summer classes can be done in five weeks instead of ten. The workload is the same as a 10-week class; it’s just done at twice the speed and classes meet four days a week instead of just two. If students feel comfortable with the increased class time and faster pace, they can receive credits as well as have half of their summer off for the academic escape.

Ian Factor is the lead instructor for the Satellite Campus Art Programs. He advised  that students take advantage of summer classes because he feels they are “more relaxed for both the students and professors.” Factor saids that long breaks are disruptive to learning, and it makes students rusty when they come back fall term.

However, Factor does think that small breaks are important for students to cool down, “There are two main reasons I teach summer term. The first is that I love teaching, and the second is it puts food on the table,”

Factor also provides five-week summer art courses, where students attend class four days a week. Factor feels it’s important to have a strong focus for a shorter period of time and it provides a wonderful learning opportunity as well as a chance for a break later in the summer.

Jacob Agatucci, associate professor of English at COCC,, said that s summer term has the most fluidity and has been subject to many changes as opposed to how the other three terms function. First, summer term was made from eight weeks long to its current ten-week long duration, with no finals week. This change was due to students feeling the work loads of these classes were too heavy in such a shorter period of time.

Agatucci urged that students keep this in mind if they do attend a summer class, especially if students join a five-week program, where the same amount of work occurs within half the time.

However, since summeris seen as a break, Agatucci notes that attendance is always very low. This is especially the case this year, since national attendance has been extremely low. With these numbers getting lower, classes tend to be a lot emptier. And if a class has too low of numbers the class will be dropped according to Agatucci. Agatucci recommended that student’s always line up back-up classes just in case some of the classes fall through due to low student turnouts.

Agatucci noted that summer term gives students  an opportunity to “finish up any gaps” they may have in their plans for graduation. If students early on in their COCC career had poor planning and want to make up for any lost time in their time frame for graduation, summer term provides that cushion room to obtain credits faster.

Online classes are the most popular during Summer term. Agatucci said that it might have to do with the convenience, especially with summer travels.  Karen Ellis, Adj. Faculty of Art,, agreed with Agatucci and said that online gives students enough flexibility during their summer. Ellis also added that learning all year round is essential for keeping students sharp and their minds nimble for the upcoming school year. Ellis said that she and her students should be “lifelong learners.”

Student Elana Arnold, will not be attending summer term, but sees the benefits of attending. Arnold said that she is aiming to get her Associate’s degree, but isn’t in a big hurry to get it, further, she says summer time provides a gap for relaxation, and time to let the mind decompress and digest ten months of learning. Arnold said that the good thing about taking summer term off is to travel before school locks her down, but the obvious downside is that it drags the degree out by a reasonable margin. “T he slower route gives you time for a life,” Arnold said. 

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