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Students opt for summer classes to get ahead

COVINGTON, Ga. - School’s out for summer. But not for college students who want to get ahead quickly in their studies.

Despite the abbreviated timeline of summer courses—they last eight weeks instead of 16—more than 9,000 students across Perimeter College are taking advantage of the summer’s shortened schedule to get ahead. More than half of those students are taking online courses during the summer, but many opt for the campus experience.

“My experience is that students who typically need to graduate sooner rather than later—usually for professional reasons—really enjoy the flexibility offered by a shorter summer term,” Dr. Laurent Dittman, associate dean of the Newton Campus, said. “From a teaching and learning perspective, everyone benefits from the continuity of their classroom work. It is a win-win proposition for instructors as well as learners.”

That seemed true in Dr. Dan Paschal’s organic chemistry class. Paschal’s lab was packed with students doing an experiment extracting caffeine from tea. The two-hour, 45-minute class was moving at a fast clip. The June 30 midterms loomed.

That didn’t seem to bother the students.

“Summer classes are a good opportunity for me to get ahead of the game—and it challenges you to focus more,” Chelsie Nolley, who is studying health sciences, said.

Her lab partner agreed.

“I like to take advantage of the quarter system—I love it,” Sparkle Reese said. “I usually want to learn something new mid-semester anyway, so this schedule is perfect for me.”

For Demi Pettet, the summer meant buckling down with an eye toward graduation. While most students take one or two courses during the summer, she’s taking five, including an English online course.

“I’m aiming to graduate in August,” she said. “I really am ready to start working on my bachelor’s degree.”