UCSB is preparing for one of its largest summer semesters with robust in-person and online programs — including a summer experience for incoming sophomores designed to mimic the freshman experience.
The university expects at least 10,000 students to enroll for summer classes, a number rarely met in past summers. Course offerings are expanding as well, including a variety of first- and second-year Discovery courses encouraging students to explore other areas.
“Some of the things we’re doing this year are designed to address needs that are specific to the situation created by COVID-19, but it all fits in well with our larger vision to expand summer opportunities and accessibility. We really want to make sure that we’re providing opportunities to benefit every student in summer,” Leesa Becka, director of Summer Sessions, said in a news release. “The current situation is pretty unusual, but we’re hoping to make the most of it.”
UCSB’s “Second Year Summer” provides the dorm life and opportunities of freshman year to a class of students who spent their first year remotely.
In addition to fun activities, the program provides peer mentors and helps students learn about research opportunities and other ways to advance their degree.
There are scholarships dedicated to Second Year Summer, so aid-eligible students can join.
Freshman Summer Start and Transfer Edge, two existing programs, also have scholarships for both in-person and remote offerings.
“We realize that after such a strange year-and-a-half, our incoming students may be in a lot of different situations. Some may be really excited to come to campus and start connecting with their new community, but others may not be ready for that yet, or may want to leverage their summer in other ways,” Ms. Beck said.
The Undergraduate Mentorship Program, which is typically held in the spring for first-year students, will now be available in the summer. The program matches students with a mentor to guide them through campus resources.
The Scholar Retention Program, which provides struggling students a summer to catch up academically, will be expanded from around 50 to 300 students. It will be available online this year.
“We’d love to see summer become a part of every student’s academic plan, and are working to provide opportunities that will meet a broad range of student needs and goals,” Ms. Beck said. “The needs and opportunities this year are pretty unique, but I’m hoping that we can learn from what we’ve seen and experienced, and carry forward the best parts to support an even broader range of possibilities in future years.”
Students who participate in at least one summer semester are more likely to graduate on time, she said.
The college had discussed expanding summer’s offerings in years prior, and the challenges of the pandemic made the programs a priority.
— Annelise Hanshaw