For students interested in earning course credit more efficiently here at UC Santa Barbara, summer sessions may be an appropriate choice. The sessions, labeled A-G depending on which portion of the summer they will take place, offer a variety of popular classes for students of all majors.
Registration for summer sessions began during the second week of April, with pass 2 happening April 22 through April 30, based on class standing. For UC undergraduates, tuition begins with a $490.50 campus-based fee and increases by $280.00 per unit, with no additional unit fees after 15 units.
While the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) doesn’t apply towards a financial aid package specifically for the summer quarter, students may choose to withdraw aid from the standard school year to help pay for summer sessions courses. In addition, the UCSB Office of summer sessions offers up to $1,700 to replace aid that some students may have received through FAFSA.
A housing incentive is also given to those who choose to live in university housing over the summer. An estimate of summer financial aid can be found using the financial aid calculator provided on the Office of Financial Aid website.
It should also be noted that UC students who are not permanent residents of California do not have to pay out-of-state fees for summer sessions, making it a potentially more affordable quarter at UCSB for these students.
The additional units earned during summer sessions can greatly benefit students who are trying to get ahead, catch up, or fit in an additional major or minor. Miso Jang, a fourth year sociology and Asian American studies double major and education minor, recommends that students consider summer sessions if they feel that they “might not be able to graduate in four years.” Whether this is due to not getting classes or simply needing to extend a heavy course load over more quarters, summer sessions offer multiple benefits to students.
The difficulty of summer classes compared to their regular academic year counterparts may vary, heavily depending on the professor and content of the course.
“All of your classes are going to be faster-paced, but you’ll also have less overall content to focus on with only two to three classes,” said second year computer science major Max Lee-Roller, who took Computer Science 8, Math 4A, and History 4B during summer sessions. Because of the shorter schedule, courses may drop material, which can be a pro or con depending on whether future classes will build on that knowledge or not.
Students also described their time during summer sessions as a calmer, less stressful period despite the increased speed of their classes. Third year communication major Autumn Murphy took Communication 124 and Interdisciplinary 188C and believes that, despite having the same professor for a repeated class over the summer session, she “find[s] the regular school year harder because of more responsibility outside of school.”
Fourth year electrical engineering major Ricky Ko — who took Classics 60, Physics 2, and Math 6A together over summer sessions — told The Bottom Line that, due to the smaller class sizes, “professors and TAs also tend to have more time to help individual students.” During a summer session, students can take advantage of a more relaxed period, allowing greater time to develop better connections with their professors.
On the other hand, whether summer sessions are the best choice for any given individual depends on each student’s particular circumstances and goals. “I would encourage students to look for internship or summer job opportunities instead,” said Ko. “These will add a lot more to your resume and life experience in general.”
Furthermore, as an alternative, local community colleges often offer courses with UCSB-transferable units at a much lower cost. This is a viable option for those who need additional course credits but wish to avoid the cost of enrolling at UCSB over the summer.