MISSOULA – For a third consecutive year, summer enrollment increased at the University of Montana. Up 2% from last summer, 3,142 students took summer courses at UM this year. Additionally, more UM summer students will have earned their degrees, certificates and minors this summer – totaling 549 degrees – up from 399 last summer.
Despite the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, students took advantage of online learning and some face-to-face options were offered, which included experimental learning opportunities, law school courses, labs, English Language Institute classes, Missoula College courses and more.
“Many of our students’ personal and academic paths have been interrupted by the pandemic,” said UM Vice Provost Nathan Lindsay. “UM worked creatively and thoughtfully to offer a robust summer semester so that our students can keep on-track to graduation and pursue their careers earlier.”
UM’s summer semester also offered a new program for incoming freshman called Summer Start, which allows first-year incoming students to get a jump start on their academics by starting courses in the summer, rather than the traditional fall start. In its inaugural year of the program, 30 UM freshman elected to enroll.
Ellie Boothe, a UM freshman from Butte and Summer Start participant, said the program allowed her to better-understand college-level coursework before the fall semester begins.
“It was extremely helpful to be able to take a few classes before the fall, just to get the hang of the online platforms and understand how to interact with my professor,” Boothe said. “I feel confident going into the semester now having had experience with online and in-person classes, and I’m already getting to know some classmates.”
Boothe plans to study secondary education at UM.
UM Summer Director Grace Gardner said for many UM students like Boothe, their final year of high school was impacted by the pandemic. That was another reason for UM to offer an opportunity for students to learn at their own pace before the semester begins, so they can begin their time at UM with confidence, she said.
“Most of our Summer Start participants have been physically out-of-school since March, and they were eager to get a jump-start on their college education,” Gardner said. “By doing so, they put themselves on track to graduate early, got to know many campus resources virtually, and connected with faculty, instructors and staff – all before stepping foot on campus this fall.”
Fall semester at the University begins Wednesday, Aug. 19.