While the end of the academic year is rapidly approaching for most college students, those enrolled in the Saint Mary's summer session are gearing up for the three-week intensive program, now in its second year at the College.
Saint Mary's offers the session, called "Got Three Weeks? Get Three Credits," to both male and female students beginning May 22. Select courses require four to six weeks for completion.
"We have had a summer session for a number of years, but last year [we] decided to expand it to accommodate not only our students, but local students as well," said Carol Haag, assistant to the registrar at the College.
The session operates under open enrollment, and students can register for any courses as long as the prerequisites are filled and minimum of five students are enrolled in the class. Students may register for a maximum of six credit hours but are advised to research the courses because of the intensive nature of the program.
The summer session is not only limited to courses offered on Saint Mary's campus. Study abroad opportunities in such places as Europe, Korea and Central and South America are also offered through the Center for Women's Intercultural Leadership.
Haag said the program - which includes courses in literature, ceramics, politics, theatre, business and music - has gained popularity since last year.
"For the summer of 2005, we had approximately 70 students enrolled in both the on-campus session and the international session," she said,
This year, more than 125 students registered for the program, with approximately 25 enrolled in the travel/internship session, Haag said.
Some Saint Mary's students said they chose to enroll in the session to ease the pressure from busy course loads in the upcoming fall semester.
"I am taking a math course for education because I do not have time to fit it into my schedule for next semester," junior Kathryn Nussbaum said, "I did not want to take 18 credit hours. I am taking 19 now and it is too much."
Other participants take summer courses in preparation for study abroad programs. Junior Meggie Wehmer took two summer courses last year - math for education majors and an art education class - so she could choose to take only 14 credit hours when in Rome.
"I wanted to enjoy my travels and not be bombarded with a heavy semester," she said.
Nussbaum also enrolled in summer school to compensate for her semester in Rome.
"I went abroad so I have been trying to fit the last of my Gen Eds and my reading minor courses for next year," she said.
Junior Shana Dolch - who participated in the session last year- enrolled in U.S. History and Principles of Accounting II in order to graduate on time.
"Even though it was a lot of work compared to the amount you would have to do during the year, it was definitely worth it," she said.
Wehmer said she was "surprised more people" did not enroll in the session.
"Although the classes are intense, it was a great way to get your classes completed and still have time to enjoy the summer," she said.
Each credit hour of summer study is $350, meaning one 3-hour course amounts to $1,050. Financial aid is not available for summer courses, and tuition must be paid by Friday, May 19 - which is the last day of classes for the regular academic year at the College.
Students from any college or university are welcome to participate in the summer program as visiting students. Non-Saint Mary's students must register by May 5 by sending a transcript, letter of good standing and tuition fees to the College.