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Students Can Catch Up, Save Up With Summer Session

March 17, 2016

Taking Summer Session courses allowed Shelby Smith to study abroad her last semester at UC Merced and graduate within four years. Completing degree requirements in eight semesters can be challenging for many students. Add a minor, a job or a semester abroad, and students can easily find themselves playing catch-up.

That’s why UC Merced senior Shelby Smith, a typical student seeking to pack as much as possible into her college years, took advantage of the campus’s Summer Session offerings.

My desire to study abroad and the fact that I was pursuing two minors drove my decision to take courses during the summer,” said Smith, an economics major who is minoring in philosophy and cognitive science. “Graduating in four years would not have been possible if it weren’t for Summer Session.”

The Visalia native took two courses in Summer 2014: Cognitive Neuroscience (COGS 130) and Intermediate Macroeconomic Theory (ECON 101).

I was able to fulfill all my major and minor requirements before my semester abroad, thanks to Summer Session, and I now just need units to complete my degree,” Smith said. She is studying in Germany this semester and will graduate in May.

That’s the mission of Summer Session: help students reach their academic goals.

We work with the schools and academic programs to try and provide consistent summer offerings of high-demand courses to help students keep on track to earning their degree,” Director of Summer Session Tammy Johnson said. “We are thrilled to hear from students about how Summer Session has helped them.”

In addition to helping Smith satisfy the requirements to graduate in four years, Summer Session also saved her money.   

Summer Session is less expensive than an extra semester,” she said. “It allowed me to keep my student loans to a minimum.”

The math is simple. The average cost to attend fall and spring semesters is approximately $27,000 per year — more if you live on campus, and less if you live at home. Taking two classes in Summer Session costs approximately $3,540, including fees and living expenses. Taking two courses in Summer Session for two summers will cost about $7,080. Taking an extra (fifth) year to graduate will cost about $27,000.

The money isn’t the only reason students are opting to stay around for summer.

Students who take courses at UC Merced over the summer benefit from smaller class sizes and the ability to focus on just one subject area. Summer is also a great time to complete prerequisites.

In addition, Summer Session students are able to take advantage of a wide range of activities coordinated by the Office of Student Life, Outdoor Experience Program, and Recreation and Athletics. Students can participate in intramural sports and day trips to Yosemite or Santa Cruz, as well as a variety of on-campus activities.

If minoring or studying abroad interest you, start planning now,” Smith said. “Summer Session can help ensure that you stay on track.”

Summer Session offers more than 140 courses in a wide variety of disciplines over three overlapping sessions. Session A runs May 23 through July 1, Session B begins June 20 and ends Aug. 12, and Session C runs July 5 through Aug. 12. Students now have the option to live on campus while taking summer classes.

Summer Session enrollment is open to everyone — current UC Merced students, newly admitted UC Merced transfer students and freshmen, other UC students, visitors from other U.S. community colleges and universities, international students, high school students and the community.

Students are encouraged to post questions or comments — what’s working, what’s not, what do they want to take that isn’t offered — to the Summer Session Facebook page or email

Some exciting progress has been made in recent years and we look forward to more positive additions to summer course offerings,” Johnson said.

Registration for current students is now open. The application deadlines for visiting students are as follows:

  • Session A: May 9
  • Session B: June 6
  • Session C: June 21

View the Summer Session class schedule and apply online.

Brenda Ortiz

Senior Public Information Representative

Office: (209) 228-4203

Mobile: (209) 628-8263