UW-Madison revamps summer experience with scholarships

March 8, 2016 By Dean Robbins
As the sun sets, UW–Madison students and visitors enjoy a cool summer evening on a Lake Mendota pier in July 2013.

As the sun sets, UW–Madison students and visitors enjoy a cool summer evening on a Lake Mendota pier in July 2013. Photo: Bryce Richter

Summer at the University of Wisconsin—Madison means music on the Memorial Union Terrace and sailboats on Lake Mendota. It’s also a chance for students to advance their academic pursuits and prepare for their careers. Rather than taking a summer break, they’re seeking a summer breakthrough.

In an effort to enrich the college experience and help students stay on track toward graduation, UW–Madison is encouraging them to consider Summer Term. One incentive comes in the form of $250,000 in scholarships, up from $25,000 last year.

“The scholarships will ensure that more students can take advantage of Summer Term’s accelerated three-to-eight-week courses,” says Jeffrey S. Russell, dean of continuing studies and vice provost for lifelong learning. “These courses can help them graduate in four years and avoid paying additional tuition and rent. It’s an opportunity to enter the workforce more quickly, and do so with the benefit of a summer internship or other unique learning experience.”

Jeffrey Russell

Jeffrey Russell

Because UW grads deserve every competitive edge today’s labor marketplace, the university added more Summer Term courses that offer real-world training. For example, a service learning course gives art students valuable experience organizing community events. Anthropology students can take a field course in archaeology, where they get hands-on practice at a dig. And a political science course offers an internship program in Washington, D.C., where students can work in a legislative office.

Summer Term now includes more online courses for students who can’t be in Madison for the summer, or those who can’t fit a face-to-face class into their work and vacation plans. This summer, students can take more than a hundred online courses from anywhere in the world.

“Enrolling in an online Summer Term course was one of the best academic decisions I made,” says Sage Bladow, who’s pursuing a double major in chemical engineering and vocal performance. “It offered me flexibility to take a class on campus while also working full time. Being able to tailor my education to my needs helped me succeed both academically and professionally.”

A key benefit of Summer Term is the chance to focus more intently on one class at a time. Students can earn the grades and credits they need to get into a particular area of study, or to get into graduate school.

“The Terrace was practically in my backyard, and the music scene is incredible. I wouldn’t have traded the opportunity to remain on campus for a different experience elsewhere.”

Maria Novak

“Since I was only taking one class, rather than taking four or five, I could really focus,” says communication arts major Grace Buting. “The fact that the class was four weeks helped me build my skills faster, so I found that a huge advantage for taking a summer course.”

Maria Novak, who’s majoring in psychology, says Summer Term courses allowed her to fulfill challenging degree requirements at her own pace. While she worked hard, she also had time to enjoy herself in a one-of-a-kind setting.

“Summer in Madison is unlike the busy semesters,” she says. “The Terrace was practically in my backyard, and the music scene is incredible. I wouldn’t have traded the opportunity to remain on campus for a different experience elsewhere.”

Summer Term also provides a UW–Madison experience for students enrolled in other schools. They can get required courses out of the way or take classes that aren’t available elsewhere, then transfer the credits to their primary institutions.

Enrollment for Summer Term opens March 28. The deadline to apply for summer scholarships is April 5. The Summer Term website has more information about courses, programs, fees, housing options, and summer jobs.