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Cohen & Ibrahim, Change, May/June 2008

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The relationship of summer classes & degree attainment

For those of you who think the primary reason for taking summer classes is remediation or "catch up," think again.

Although at the college level, many students opt to take a break from school, keeping their summers course-free, research indicates a strong relationship between eventually earning a degree and enrolling in summer classes.

In fact, we've learned from a U.S. Department of Education research study that attendance patterns and academic performance go hand in hand. That study, The Toolbox Revisited, tracked students from high school into postsecondary education to determine key factors that contributed to the bachelor's degrees they earned as traditional age students.

What's more, the study suggests that WHEN students perform academically has a greater effect on degree completion than WHERE (the college or university they attend) they perform. Quoting from the study: "Summer term credits are more than metaphors for high octane persistence. Earning more than four credits during those terms held a consistently positive relationship to degree completion, and gave African-American students, in particular, a significant boost in …graduation rates."

Factor in the summer term as an opportunity to enroll in classes that may require more time than you are capable of giving during the fall or spring semester, and you have a game plan for controlling your course load and moving you closer to graduation.

Whether it's to get a jump start on your Purdue education or to continue your plan for success, your strategy should consider summer courses. Learning in our fast-paced, 21st century society is a continuous, lifelong activity and no longer a nine-month-a-year ritual.

For those of you intent on giving yourselves every advantage, Purdue Calumet's traditional summer term of classes begins June 12.

Sincerely,

Howard Cohen
Chancellor



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