Summer Session offers flexibility for balancing learning with other summer plans through three 4-week terms, two 8-week terms and a 12-week term. Additional terms of varying length include field, weekend and online classes. Most students take close to six credits over the summer. Summer Session supports focused study while providing the opportunity to complete a difficult course, fulfill a prerequisite, concentrate on one or two classes, or enroll in a special topic course. The majority of CSU students  participate in Summer Session at some point, which helps them stay on track for graduation and realize long-lasting financial benefits.

Educational Benefits

  • Improve GPA
    • Many CSUstudents who take summer classes improve their grade point average
  • 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
    • 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 class size allows for:
    • More individual attention from faculty
    • Building a strong learning community
    • Enhanced in-class discussion

Financial Benefits

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

  • Spend less: Graduating late may have negative financial effects including additional living and educational expenses;
  • Earn money sooner: By accelerating time to graduation, students enter the job market earlier;
  • Tuition: If tuition increases, it usually increases in the fall semester;
  • Program award for nonresidents in Summer Session Learn more; and
  • Earn while you learn: many on campus and local summer jobs are posted in RAMweb.

Financial aid may be available for summer. Half-time enrollment is typically required for financial aid purposes (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.

Benefits of Our Summer Campus

  • The CSU campus and Fort Collins community are more casual in the summer!
    • Fewer people, less traffic
    • Outdoor concerts, community events
    • Hiking, boating, bicycling, and other activities in the great outdoors
  • All of the resources and support systems you are used to in the academic year are still available in the summer.
  • The varying summer terms and prorated on-campus housing options allow you the flexibility to remain on campus only part of the summer.

Benefits of Time

Lighten course load in other semesters

College students are working more hours throughout the school year than ever, which may compromise credit progress towards degree and GPA.

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

Graduate in a timely manner

Summer Session classes can contribute to graduating in four years or less (Note: credit requirements vary by major).

  • Nearly 56% of CSU students 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 freshmen 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.

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.

Avoid transfer student pitfalls

  • 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 and transferring from community colleges may have remaining Pell dollars to apply to Summer Session.

Academic Considerations

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

  • Smaller 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
    • Online classes can simplify transportation logistics and costs

Success Tips

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
  • Students may not be able to work and go to school if taking a full credit load