Summer courses at the University of Rhode Island offer an alternative way to get ahead on academic course loads across all majors. 

According to URI’s official Summer Sessions website, summer classes “are the most affordable offered by the institution and can be a convenient, intensive option for catching up or getting ahead on earning academic credits.”

The planning that goes into the creation and registration of students into classes does not occur overnight. Assistant Director of Summer Sessions and Winter J Term John Olerio emphasized the consideration and care that goes into setting students up for success through summer courses. 

“It’s really important to me that students not only make important enrollment decisions in terms of the classes they need, but also that they’re looking at these classes and saying, ‘Okay, am I really putting myself in a position to succeed,’” Olerio said. 

Olerio has been working on Summer Sessions since 2014 and has since doubled the amount of online courses offered to students from 122 to 288. This alternative has been helpful for students with other responsibilities during the summer. 

“We have more and more out-of-state students every single year,” said Olerio. “For those students to have to pay for housing here in Kingston and take summer courses [on campus] makes it even more expensive.”

Nonetheless, that support does not come at a low cost or with minimal preparation. The Office of the Provost works diligently alongside academic departments, faculty and students to ensure that the most needed and demanded courses are available for summer enrollment.

“I obviously like working with all the faculty members in the academic departments, but then being able to work with students to help them through registration issues and stuff like that is a part of my job that I really enjoy,” said Olerio. 

First-year student Ivan Rosa took advantage of summer courses in 2019 and emphasized their lasting impact on his mindset as a student now. 

“I think the advantages of taking a summer course are the fact that you’re ahead in picking up credits but also it’s not like during the semester when you’re taking five classes, you’re [only] taking one or two classes,” Rosa said. “It helped me, especially being a freshman, to have a different mentality towards school with less procrastination and more organized scheduling. Overall, summer courses helped me become a better student.” 

Olerio understands that summer courses are not for everyone. Simply having the option to spread out course loads has proven beneficial for students whose lives are not as accommodating during the school year to fulfill all of their academic desires. 

The summer sessions team works with every academic college to ensure a variety of classes are being pushed for, both online and on-campus, for students to enroll in. There is a plethora of summer courses students can take, from STEM and social sciences to arts and humanities. 

One of the key differences between enrolling in a summer course at URI’s Kingston campus and attending a J-Term course is housing. Housing is offered at an additional cost during summer sessions because financial aid packages received throughout the semester do not carry over. 

“Your housing assignment for the summer is in almost every case not the same as your housing assignment for fall and spring,” said Olerio. “That’s a big difference between summer and J-Term.”

Students can register for summer session classes through e-Campus and enroll in up to 16 credits, according to Olerio.