Studying in the summer? Many students would cringe at the idea of taking courses during summer break, but summer classes at Gonzaga and other schools are widely regarded as being a great way to fit in those extra credits or graduate early.                                                                                  

Each year, approximately 1,000 students take advantage of this opportunity to get a boost on their credits. 

According to the Enrollment Management Department on campus, the most common summer classes students enroll in are core courses, such as religion, philosophy and English. Data shows a close split between on-campus summer courses (55%) and online summer courses (45%), but according to the department, online courses continue to gain popularity each year. 

Many Zags find summer courses a great way to fit in the classes needed for their double majors or minors. 

Kalleigh Wagner, a junior at GU, found summer courses to be the ideal way for her to squeeze in all the credits she needs to graduate on time. Wagner is a dance and business administration dual degree major, with a minor in leadership studies.

When looking at her course load freshman year, she was apprehensive about how to pursue her goals of a dual degree, while also graduating in four years. After talking with her parents, as well as her adviser, they came to an agreement that summer courses were necessary in order to stick to her preferred timeline.

With a dual degree program, a student completes two majors, each from a different school on campus. This can make it challenging for students to graduate on time with this degree, as many of the core classes don’t overlap. 

Summer courses can be a great way to mitigate this, as it allows students to get their core classes or pre-requisites out of the way during the summer and focus on classes that directly pertain to their majors throughout the rest of the academic year. 

“It’s been a great way for me to keep on track,” Wagner said. “It’s a great way to get courses that aren’t as integral to my major out the way, so I can focus on other courses during the year.” 

Wagner has completed six summer courses and said finding and registering for the courses she needed was a straightforward process. She plans on registering for more summer classes. 

Wagner found the professors to be flexible with her work or travel schedule, and had a positive experience taking these online courses through GU. She said while summer courses may not fit in to every student’s summer, taking extra classes was something that fit well with her work ethic. 

“For me, I enjoy having something to do,” Wagner said. “I liked having something to work on in the summer, to steamroll the process along.”

Wagner said she found the online classes to be both  convenient and engaging. When comparing online courses to her regular courses, she said they're on par with each other. Wagner said she recommends summer courses for any students willing to dedicate a few days a week to their studies. 

“If you make an effort to prioritize your time well, you can get it all done in the beginning of the week and be able to relax for the rest,” Wagner said. 

Courtney Smith, a junior communications major who is pursuing her elementary teaching certificate, also took part in summer courses. Smith enrolled in classes through GU and schools closer to home. 

Smith took summer courses to complete her major and certification in four years. With the added elementary teaching certificate, Smith’s credits between her major and certificate are essentially shoulder to shoulder with those needed for a double major. 

Smith chose to take the bulk of her summer courses online at Bellevue Community College and Highline Community College because it was more cost effective. The cost, for her, averaged $500 per class at Bellevue or Highline, versus an average of $775 per credit at GU. 

“I love Gonzaga — don’t get me wrong,” Smith said. “But school here is already a lot of money, and if there’s a cheaper way to get my credits out of the way, I’ll take it.” 

If cost isn’t an issue for students, Smith said taking summer courses through GU is convenient. She recommends summer courses for any students and said they’ve helped her maintain a four-year timeline.  

“I think it’s a great option to stay on track or even to get ahead and get some of those core classes out of the way,” Smith said.  

GU offers two summer sections, and students can register for one or both. The first half begins May 18 and ends June 26. The second half runs from June 29 through Aug. 7. 

Summer courses are open for registration, and will close on May 22 for session one, and on July 6 for session two.

Audrey Measer is a staff writer.

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