Summer Is A Quarter, Too

Story by Peter Stampher

As the school year comes to an end for some students, others prepare to complete courses offered over the summer at Whatcom Community College.

Enrollment advisors at Whatcom put on presentations in classrooms with the intent of educating students on course options available to students summer quarter. The presentations started on May 20 and lasted until the first day of summer enrollment, May 29.

These presentations were coordinated by the Enrollment Strategies Committee, said Kathy Barnes, the Director of Advising and Career Services at Whatcom.

“It’s a quick outreach strategy that the Enrollment Strategies Committee decided to do,” said Hanna Maeng, the Opportunity Grant and Entry, and Advising Student Support Coordinator at Whatcom.

The committee scheduled presentations that took place at the beginning of class, Maeng said. The idea behind this outreach strategy came from students at Whatcom, she said. “Face to face interaction is an effective way to reach out,” she said.

These presentations gave a general overview of course options, she said. There were a few minutes for questions from students, and answers from advisors, at the end of each presentation.

Summer quarter is a scaled-down version of the regular quarters, said Nancy Mullane, Associate Director for Transfer Advising. Not as many classes are offered, and those that are offered are chosen based on a variety of factors including student need, and the demand level for the course during the regular school year, she said.

Courses offered summer quarter fluctuate. They are chosen, in part, based upon the rate at which the class fills up during the regular school year. “We didn’t used to offer calculus [summer quarter] but now we do,” Mullane said.

Many of the credits available over the summer are those needed for completion of an associate degree. Some courses offered include art, biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, psychology and physical education.

Summer quarter begins July 1, about two weeks after spring quarter ends on June 14, and is officially listed as the first quarter students may receive financial aid for the 2013-14 school year, according to Whatcom’s website.

Students who are interested in receiving financial aid for summer quarter have a series of deadlines that need to be met. Students must have had their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in by March 15, 2013, with the other application requirements completed by May 1, 2013.

If these deadlines have been met there is a good chance students will receive financial aid for summer quarter, Barnes said.

Whatcom also offers flexible learning options for students taking classes summer quarter. “The biggest thing is letting students know about the resources that are available,” Mullane said. Learning contracts are one flexible credit option offered to Whatcom students. A learning contract allows completion of college credit in a course designed by the student.

Contract courses are offered every quarter at Whatcom. Many of the credits offered in Whatcom’s summer course catalog may be completed through a learning contract. The college recruits a mentor to guide the student through the subject matter of their contract course. This mentor has expertise in the subject area and is often a Whatcom faculty member.

Students may also design a contract course of their own focusing on subject matter they deem important. However, in order to be approved, the subject matter being studied through this self-designed contract must be college-level.
Students interested in designing a summer learning contract must meet with Beth Tyne in the Educational Services office before the beginning of summer quarter.

Online courses are offered summer quarter and offer a degree of flexibility to the enrollee. Classes offered online include the math series as well as hybrid science classes. These hybrid classes require course work to be completed online as well as work to be completed, in person, during lab sessions at Whatcom.

Registration for currently enrolled students began on May 29. Early registration for previously enrolled students begins on June 6 and for new students June 10. In order to be eligible for early registration, new and former students must have applied for registration access before May 3. General registration opens June 11.

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