A new three-week May term means students at St. Xavier University have a new way to meet their academic course requirements without having to sign up for summer school.
Starting in May, the college in Mount Greenwood will offer 27 intensive classes in nearly every department.
The idea is to give those students who want to the ability to take college classes year-round, which would allow them to finish in less than four years and save on tuition, says spokesman Joe Moore. In past years, most of the month of May after graduation was dead at the campus. Students signed up for summer classes had to go home during that time.
“It allows students to do a couple of things,” Moore says. “One, perhaps take a class they might not otherwise have time for … or perhaps to graduate more quickly.”
While he didn’t have specific figures, Greg Coutts, the coordinator of summer sessions, said students are very interested in the May term.
“It’s fairly new, but the interest seems to be fairly high at this point, which is good,” Coutts says.
Students at other colleges and universities can enroll in the May term and then, in most cases, transfer the credits they earn back to their home campuses, Moore says. But the program isn’t open to the public in the same way that non-credit courses at community colleges are.
“This isn’t the same as perhaps an open enrichment program or something like that,” Moore says.
While a typical three-credit course would cost more than $2,200, the May courses cost about $1,250 each, or 45 percent less. Students can live on-campus during the three week term without an extra charge, Moore says.
Each course earns students three credit hours, the equivalent of what they’d get from taking a standard semester-long class. The three-week term means students can get the credits without giving up their whole summer break. For those who want to finish quickly with as little down time as possible, the May term fills the break and lets them stay on campus.
Some of the courses are relatively standard – one provides an overview of common computer applications for business majors, while others include basic psychology and sociology classes.
But some are more hands-on, like an archaeology course that includes several days of field work at a dig site. A class on Abraham Lincoln includes visits to several historical sites in Springfield.
“Those kinds of experiences are hard to have during a normal session because you can’t just get up and leave for two days and miss all your other classes,” Coutts says.
Peter Sachs covers higher education for the Daily News. He can be reached at 773-362-1002, ext. 18.