Students who participate in CSU’s Summer Session graduate at higher rates and earn higher summer term grade point averages, according to institutional data. In fact, three out of five CSU students participate in Summer Session during their time at CSU. Most students take close to six credits over the summer.

Summer offers a unique opportunity to focus on one or few courses at a time, making it a great time to complete a challenging course, participate in experiential learning, or fulfill a prerequisite. By participating in Summer Session, students have the opportunity to graduate and earn earlier and potentially reduce educational expenses.

Students should be prepared for the condensed terms within summer and make a plan for devoting adequate time to their studies. Discover the educational, financial, and time-saving benefits of Summer Session with tips for academic success:

  • Opportunity to improve GPA:
    • Many CSU students who take summer courses earn a higher summer-term grade point average than in fall and spring terms.
  • Take a class that may have a waiting list during the fall or spring semesters;
  • Explore a new interest;
  • Change or add to a program of study:
    • Add a minor or concentration, or
    • Add or change a major.
  • Gain experience through internships, research, study abroad, and experiential/field courses.
  • Take one or two classes at a time to focus deeply on fewer subjects.
  • Smaller on-campus class sizes, on average, allow for:
    • More individual attention from faculty;
    • Building a strong learning community; and
    • Enhanced in-class discussion.

Summer Session can be an integral part of graduating in four years, or accelerating time to graduation.

  • Reduce educational expenses: Graduating on time may help students avoid additional living and educational expenses associated with an extra semester or year;
  • Earn money sooner: By accelerating time to graduation, students enter the job market earlier;
  • Earn while you learn: many on campus and local summer jobs are posted in RAMweb;
  • Tuition:
    • If tuition increases, it usually increases in the fall semester; and
    • Nonresident tuition reduction on specific online credits in Summer Session; For details, please see “Nonresident Tuition Rate Change” section.

Financial aid may be available in summer for students who meet the eligibility criteria. Half-time enrollment is typically required for financial aid purposes (usually 6 credits for undergraduates; 5 credits for graduate students). Please consult with a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid to determine your specific needs and options.

Lighten course load in other semesters

  • Summer Session can help in balancing work and scholastic commitments and distributing more demanding courses across semesters.

Graduate in a timely manner

When students take the recommended 15 credits in both fall and spring semesters, Summer Session courses can contribute to graduating in four years or less. (Note: credit requirements vary by major).

  • Nearly 48% of CSU undergraduates who participate in Summer Session are seniors.
  • Participate in Summer Session earlier in your program of study to help avoid needing credits after your intended graduation term.
  • A delayed graduation may also delay professional employment options and earnings.

Reach the next class level

  • Sophomore (completion of 30 credits by end of freshman year)
  • Junior (completion of 60 credits by end of sophomore year)
  • Senior (completion of 90 credits by end of junior year)
  • Completion of degree (120 credits or more depending on program of study)

Catch up on credits if you have changed your major

Switching majors before sophomore year can add on one month (on average) to time-to-degree. Nationally, 35% of students change majors after their sophomore year, which can add a full term to their graduation plan. If you’ve made or are considering a major change, include Summer Session in your plan to promote timely graduation.

Earn credits before freshman year

High school students may take classes before their first semester of college. This can help to ease the transition to college life, while earning credits in advance. These students may:

  1. Take classes through CSU Online if taking online classes only
  2. Enroll as a “Summer-Only” student and take face-to-face classes, with or without online classes.

Please note: If admitted as a degree-seeking student beginning with the summer term, students must attend Summer Session in order to remain admitted for fall semester.

  • The CSU campus and Fort Collins community are more casual in the summer!
    • Fewer people, less traffic,
    • Outdoor concerts, including downtown and campus Lagoon concerts, and
    • Community events, and
    • Hiking, boating, bicycling, and other activities in the great outdoors.
  • The majority of campus resources and support systems available in the academic year remain available in the summer.
  • Prorated on-campus housing options allow the flexibility to live on campus during the time needed.

Choose Your Learning Environment:

Explore which course delivery formats and combinations work best for your learning preferences and success. Assess the advantages/disadvantages of face-to-face courses and online courses for your situation:

  • Smaller average campus class size means more opportunity to build community with students and more individual attention from faculty
  • Online classes provide flexibility for studying at a distance, working, and balancing study and life demands.
    • The majority of online courses are not self-paced, and
    • Online classes can simplify transportation logistics and costs.

Course Compression:

The condensed course formats mean a fast start and consistent pace will contribute to success and deep learning.
As an example, fitting a 3-credit, 16-week course into a shorter time period can make:

  • A 4-week term feel like 12 credits
  • An 8-week term feel like 6 credits
  • A 12-week term feel like 4 credits

Build in more time to study to keep up with the faster pace of summer courses. If attending overlapping terms, you’ll need to compensate accordingly.

Keep in mind:

  • Studying daily can be helpful;
  • Tests may occur more often;
  • Utilize campus resources — most offices are open all summer;
  • Labs are intense in an 8-week term; and
  • Students may not be able to work and go to school if taking a full credit load.
  • Take prerequisite or introductory courses in the summer to meet requirements for upper division courses. Be ready to progress with program requirements in the fall semester.
  • Participate in Summer Session earlier in your program of study to help avoid needing credits after your intended graduation term.
  • Maximize your financial aid benefits. Students who are Pell-Eligible may have remaining Pell dollars to apply to Summer Session.