What’s the fuss about Summer at the Pierce?

sunglassescropped[1]More students are trading in their sunscreen for scantrons as the college ramps up its summer offerings to boost enrollment and give students an opportunity to replace missing credits or to graduate sooner.

“I take summer classes because I want to get done with my degree faster,” said Maleaka Carter, Pierce student. “When you go to school all year round instead of taking summer off, you’re done faster by a couple quarters.”

Pierce is trying to inform students that they have more options than ever this summer.

Popular memes are being used to promote summer quarter, and banners are hanging at bus stops to advertise “Summer at the Pierce.”

“Classes grew by about 20 percent overall for online, and in our direct transfer classes,” said Holly Smith, arts and humanities dean. “Hopefully it’s a noticeable difference and students have more options.”

Pierce College did a community survey to evaluate what students want as far as schooling in the summer goes. As a result, they are trying out two-days-a-week courses that previously have not been available.

“We’re offering this to see if indeed they are interested,” Smith said. “We’re also looking to make it less burdensome to go to college in the summertime.”

Increased enrollment also helps with college funding. The state bases funding on the number of FTEs, or full-time equivalent students, that colleges generate. “If you look at our distribution of FTEs, the summer is the lowest,” Smith said. “We’re looking to raise the FTE to balance it with other quarters.

“We looked at our competition as far as what their enrollment was for fall, winter, spring and summer, and they were more balanced.”

Students find other benefits for summer classes. “Everyone is gone so I can concentrate more and have silence to be able to study in,” Faye Nguyen said.

Enrolling in summer quarter helps get pre-requisites out of the way. “I’m taking summer quarter so I can get the credits I need to make school go by faster. Besides, I’m not really doing anything during the summer,” Rustine Azur said.

International student An Nguyen said: “I need to take summer classes to finish my degree. I’m taking a biology series that’s required in order for me to graduate and it’s only offered during the summer.”

Among the new summer offers are several interesting courses. An oceanography class will have one week of fieldwork at various beaches around Washington.

Water coloring is being offered at both campuses and Fort Steilacoom will provide a painting class. Both courses have a more intensive class schedule of three-hours per session.

 Story by Holly Buchanan

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