Most colleges, including TCU, have students attend school for two semesters in the fall and spring. During the summer, some students attend summer school while others seek a job or internship opportunity. If a student chooses to attend summer school, they often find themselves in small classes with much fewer students at the university than during the regular school year. This makes the classes feel rushed and the absence of most other students creates an awkward, lonely environment.
Purdue University has proposed a solution that would improve summer classes, accelerate graduation and increase revenues for the school. They announced plans for a trimester system that would make the summer more equal to the spring and fall in terms of length and participation.
The spring and fall trimesters would be slightly shorter than the current semesters and the summer trimester would be optional. Purdue President France Córdova expects to increase summer enrollment by more than threefold as a result of the initiative, making better use of facilities during the summer season.
It is also expected to cut down on the average time for degree completion, allowing more students to graduate on time. Plus, it could generate increased revenue for the school, which is needed both at Purdue with reduced state funding and here at TCU with ever increasing tuition costs.
Kirsten Gibson, editor-in-chief of Purdue’s Exponent newspaper, echoed the sentiments about the nearly empty campus environment over the summer.
“Campus is almost completely dead,” she said after having only about a dozen classmates in her Spanish and international relations classes she took during the summer. She said it was “definitely now worth considering” a trimester schedule after being assured the summer trimester would be optional.
While some jobs and internships are specific to the summer, such as lifeguarding and camp counseling, most of the jobs and internships related to fields that students major in have a year-round demand but have applications skewed toward the summer because of academic commitments during the regular semesters.
Brett Highley, student government president at Purdue, echoed these sentiments.
“The high-tech engineering firms, it’s not a seasonal industry,” he said. “I think the (internship) demand is there from the industry perspective year-round, it’s just hard to find the students to fill the spots.”
Many other industries and firms certainly share the grievances of the high-tech engineering firms Highley refers to, and universities like TCU can do their part to help both employers and the students striving for employment with them after graduation.
The Occupy Sadler movement of last semester showed how student input was taken seriously by our administration, and they should be commended for it. As the one who secured the permit for the rally in front of Sadler Hall and one of the three who met with Chancellor Victor J. Boschini in his office the day before, I realized that the wishes of students that were voiced on sites like Twitter and Facebook did not reach Boschini or the administration.
Boschini even lamented that TCU360 interviewed him earlier that day without him even knowing what the demands of Occupy Sadler were.
If you agree that a trimester system should be considered to enable more effective use of facilities, more opportunities for students to take classes and secure jobs and internships, less time on average for students to graduate, and increased revenues to help curtail the skyrocketing cost of tuition, then consider expressing your opinion to the Chancellor directly by emailing [email protected] and letting him know that you support TCU implementing a trimester system.
Jack Enright is a junior political science and economics double major from Tomball.