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Summer school?

UChopefulmomUChopefulmom Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited May 2010 in University of Chicago
We have been under the impression that summer school is more or less non-existent at UChi, but as we've navigated the website and looked at the time schedules, it looks like there is actually quite a lot offered in the summer. Can a current or former student give us an overview of the summer opportunities? I'm sure that some of the classes listed won't "go" because of lack of students, but is there a way to use summer sessions to best advantage? Maybe a math class for a humanities kid or vice versa? I have read elsewhere that housing is easy in summer, as year-long leases offer cheap sublet possibilities for summer session.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Post edited by UChopefulmom on

Replies to: Summer school?

  • uchicagoalumuchicagoalum Registered User Posts: 440 Member
    Summer session at UChicago, unlike schools such as NYU or Harvard which more aggressively mass market, is principally designed to support current Chicago students’ efforts to get their degree requirements fulfilled. It is by no means a cash cow, and given that courses are rarely cancelled on account of low enrollment, the College (there are very few graduate courses) certainly loses money on some if not most.

    That said, summer sessions offer little upside to possible admits, and a lot of downside. If you son or daughter makes a 'B' and a 'B-' during their junior summer in, say, a two quarter biology sequence, that is basically writing off any notion that he or she *might* be a future Phi Beta Kappa graduate. In other words: Admit me! Proven mediocrity! Not going to medical school here… Not a great position to be in to say the least.

    At the same time, there is large opportunity cost in terms of other summer activities foregone (e.g. volunteering, job shadowing, lab work, purposeful travel, language study, etc.). For a student who is already academically in the mix for spot in an incoming college class by way of high school grades and standardized tests, these broadening experiences often are what differentiate the elect from the rejected. Summer calculus simply does not have the same ring as Spanish immersion and non-profit volunteering in Guatemala, despite the markedly higher price tag of the former.

    Lastly, I doubt the University allows high school students to live in Hyde Park on sublets. By my recollection, they are all house in the Max Pavelsky complex at more-or-less standard rates. Likewise, they are forced to have a meal plan of some sort. Indeed, UChicago like all schools employs exorbitant room and board fees to cover other, underfunded areas.
  • UChopefulmomUChopefulmom Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    I suppose I need to change my name - I am past the "hopeful" stage, as my son has been admitted for fall 2010. I meant to inquire about UChicago undergraduate students and summer school. We are looking at ways to make the most of whatever opportunities there are during his time at UChicago, and that may include a summer session or two that helps him clear time in his schedule for things he wants to do, or to give him a lighter total class load in a quarter in which he will take more challenging classes.

    So, to clarify, if anyone has used summer school to a particular advantage with respect to getting certain requirements taken care of, or as a tool to reduce stress during the regular school year, or pretty much ANY information or strategies for summer, I'd be interested in your thoughts.
  • CountingDownCountingDown Registered User Posts: 13,030 Senior Member
    If your S is looking at reducing stress when he first gets to Chicago, he could take just three classes. My S did this and felt it gave him time to adjust, find ECs, make friends, etc. Helped his grades, too.

    He needs 42 courses to graduate (not inc. PE). That's five quarters with three per quarter, and seven with four courses -- before counting any AP credits. There are other Chicago parents who have said that strategically planning those three-course quarters (i.e., when doing a thesis, heavy research, etc.) is useful. My kid wants to take every course he can possible squeeze in, so he has taken four every quarter since that first term.

    S will be staying in Chicago this summer and working, so he has found a sublet. Wishes his house stayed open, though!
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,984 Senior Member
    CountingDown, how did you get a math-whiz son? What's 5 x 3 + 7 x 4? (Hint: Not 42.)

    UCnolongerjusthopefulmom: Summer session is OK, but they don't offer the basic core courses. So your math kid will have to take his required humanities courses during the regular year. They do seem to offer one of the basic calculus courses (but only one quarter's worth), so conceivably your humanities kid could take one of his required math courses then.

    We had a problem with the summer that really burned me. One of my kids took an intensive introductory language course -- a triple-credit course that was intended as a full-time thing. It seemed great, although by the end my student (and reportedly many others in the class) was a little fried. The big issue came fall quarter, when it turned out the the summer class curriculum only covered about 80% of what the full-year regular term introductory class covered, so that students coming out of the summer were really not able to go into the regular second-year course without a ton of extra work. Given that taking one year of a language is not sufficient to actually learn it, I felt like I completely wasted my money on the summer course.
  • UChopefulmomUChopefulmom Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    CountingDown and JHS - Thanks for your comments. We did actually notice the calculus opportunity and were thinking that might be a great class for him (humanities kid) for summer when enrollment would allow for more individual attention in a subject that isn't his thing. That's what we're really trying to accomplish, along with possible reduction in class loads down the line as things get more intense. We also looked at the Russian immersion class, but I am now concerned about the issue you mentioned. He would potentially take second year starting in the fall, and if he begins the year already behind, that would add stress not reduce it.

    In terms of logistics, can a freshman fall admit request a summer admission? I am assuming they are happy to take my money whenever they can get it, but maybe they prefer that freshmen all come in together. Obviously that's a question for the Admissions Office, but anyone tried it?

    Thanks! UCNLJHM :)
  • JHSJHS Registered User Posts: 17,984 Senior Member
    Note a couple of nuances:

    This summer, at least, they are only offering Math 151 or 152 (and not both of them for the same student). During the regular year, he would have the option of taking a somewhat less demanding calculus sequence, 131-132. He can also meet his math requirement with statistics and/or computer science, eligible courses of which are also offered during the summer. His advisors will probably put pressure on him to take calculus, though; as far as I can tell, they do that with almost everyone, and they believe in it educationally.

    I have a strong impression that entering first-years cannot take summer courses, but I'm not sure why.
  • CountingDownCountingDown Registered User Posts: 13,030 Senior Member
    JHS, my math whiz genes shut off at 11 pm every night. :)
This discussion has been closed.