The New York Times has a piece about how colleges are offering more and more courses during the sumer. Here's the Pitzer College mentions.
In 2004, Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., stopped renting classrooms to youth groups and began offering regular courses. Pitzer’s president, Laura Skandera Trombley, says this lets the college use the campus in the way it was intended (no more squealing grade-school campers on the quad) and gives undergraduates what they want. “Students had been asking for flexibility with their schedules,” Dr. Trombley says.Like most things in the New York Times, it gets the story half right. The real reason is that this whole process of summer school goes on is that there is a market for it. But why is there a market?
Timothy Campos, a Pitzer junior, is taking watercolor and Chicano/Chicana literature this summer. “Art takes a lot of time outside the classroom,” he explains.
Mr. Campos is typical of students who think strategically. As a double major in sociology and Chicano studies with a minor in studio art, Mr. Campos, also Latino Student Union president and a community organizer for day laborers, says summer classwork will help him avoid a senior year in which he is under pressure to create. “I didn’t want all the art to pile up on me,” he says.
Mr. Campos has a year-round job in the admissions office that in summer comes with a free dorm room (which he has to open for campus tours) and helps pay for the added expense of summer school: financial aid covers only 75 percent of tuition for high-need students at Pitzer. During the school year, about 85 percent of all of Mr. Campos’s expenses are covered.
Summer students here are concentrated in Atherton Hall, the coveted “green” freshman dorm. That meant Mr. Campos, a self-described “artistic dresser,” had to move the contents of his room from Mead Hall, about 50 feet away, including his collection of hats, shoes and objects reflecting his fascination with skulls.
Yes, students are having to resort to taking classes during the summer, but it isn't because of what the students want, but rather what they need. Often, due to increasing demands placed on students before they graduate (number of requirements, anyone?) and inflexibility on the part of tenured professors to teach more sections of required courses, some students are left high and dry.
If only Claremont McKenna would allow us to take classes during the summer to knock down some of those ridiculous requirements, but alas, after sophomore year you can only take your summer classes at a four-year college that gets prior approval.