Summer session supports student success; registration opens March 21

Photo of students in summer session

Registration for Colorado State University’s 2023 summer session opens Tuesday, March 21, in RAMweb. With over 1,700 course sections, CSU’s innovative summer classes offer intimate learning settings, promote deeper student understanding of course materials and aid students in maintaining or expediting their graduation plans.

Academic benefits

Summer session strives to offer courses that are in highest demand at CSU, including offerings in All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) classes, prerequisite courses, upper-division senior seminars, specialized courses and research and internship opportunities. Online, hybrid, main campus and Mountain Campus offerings in 4-, 8-, 12-week and varying-length terms allow for summer flexibility and a variety of course format options for students in all majors.

Mountain Campus courses immerse students in the topics they’re studying with hands-on course components. Alongside courses offered by the Warner College of Natural Resources, Environmental Humanities is offering four two-week Mountain Campus courses this summer, open to all majors.

Taking summer session courses is a great way for students to accelerate their graduation timelines or take classes for which they don’t have room in their fall or spring schedules. CSU’s 31 Accelerated Programs utilize summer courses to develop three-year graduation plans, and students on any graduation track can benefit from summer classes to expedite their educational progress or reduce the number of credits they must take in the fall and spring semesters.

“Summer session is a wonderful opportunity for students to get ahead on credits or get caught up on credits,” CSU Summer Director Anne Van Arsdall said. “Students can not only take their required courses but can devote time to more immersive learning over the summer, and it can help with focusing on difficult subjects.”

Smaller classes, higher GPAs

Reduced credits in the fall and spring are conducive to higher success in coursework, and summer courses are even more so. Class sizes are often smaller, and students typically take only one or a few classes at a time in summer session, leading to deeper material understanding and higher term GPAs compared to fall and spring.

Smaller classes also provide the opportunity for stronger connections with peers and instructors. Some students thrive with more personal instruction and feedback, and student-to-student connections within courses are advantageous for student success.

“In summer session, study groups happen a little bit more easily, more organically,” Van Arsdall said. “And those closer connections with faculty? I think that’s one reason students do better.”

Additionally, summer session is an opportunity for instructors to remodel their teaching approaches and experiment with new teaching methodologies. The shorter, more intimate courses cultivate a unique setting for monitoring efficacy and collecting feedback in real time.

Summer research and internship opportunities are also plentiful. This summer, the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry (OURA) is launching the TILT OURA Training Lab as a research-based course in collaboration with the Summer Bridge Program.

“We are very excited to get first-year students into a research experience through the TILT OURA Training Lab that will equip them with the knowledge and confidence needed for future labs and research opportunities,” said Louise Allen, program director for OURA.

A first-generation student, Brisa Navarro-Flores attended summer session courses with the support of the CSU Tuition Assistance Grant available to undergraduate Colorado residents who meet eligibility criteria. She gains career-based experience through her campus work-study job, and earning summer credits is helping Brisa to graduate in four years while pursuing a major, minor and two concentrations. Video courtesy of CSU Summer

Financial benefits

Early registration for summer session courses is highly recommended for students to be considered for all of the financial aid they may qualify for, as many forms of financial aid are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Base tuition for nonresident undergraduates is reduced by 30% in Summer 2023, and several recent developments have led to more financial aid available to students in summer session than ever before.

Last year, the CSU System Board of Governors approved the allocation of an additional $640,000 in financial aid to summer session students through the need-based CSU Tuition Assistance Grant (CTAG), which was available in the summer term for the first time in 2021.

This year, OURA is offering the Mentored Scholars Matching Fund during summer session to reduce barriers students face when getting involved in research. The Mentored Scholars Matching Fund will provide matching grants of up to $1,000 to faculty and graduate students, to be paid as compensation to undergraduates in their research groups.

“In a survey of barriers to undergraduate research at CSU, the top two barriers identified by our students were related to lack of awareness of available opportunities and lack of compensation,” Allen said. “The Mentored Scholars Matching Fund came about as one possible answer to reduce these barriers to getting involved in research — to support more equitable recruitment of undergraduate students into paid research and artistry opportunities with mentors.”

The Federal Direct Pell Grant is also available for eligible students in summer session. Students taking six or more summer credits may receive dedicated summer Pell funds, and Pell recipients taking less than six credits over the summer may use their remaining funds if they did not use all of their eligibility in the fall or spring semesters.

Course offerings and registration

CSU Summer’s Courses at a Glance web page allows students to browse courses, filtering by delivery type, subject, term and AUCC category. Registration is through RAMweb, and advising codes are not needed for summer session registration.

Summer session’s condensed terms are packed with the same amount of material as a traditional fall or spring course, so CSU Summer offers a Learning Resources web page to help students excel in summer courses.