Students looking off campus for summer classes

Summer vacation doesn’t mean all students get a break from studying. Many enroll in summer courses, and for some of those students, taking summer courses at St. Thomas is not convenient or cost-efficient. They take classes at other four-year colleges closer to home or at local community colleges instead.

Junior Jenna Breen lives in Fargo, N.D. during the summer and is taking a summer statistics course at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

“I have a job at home and not in St. Paul, so it made sense for me to come home for the summer,” Breen said.

Breen fell ill during spring semester and could take only 12 credits because on doctor’s orders. By taking a summer statistics course, she will make up the four credits she wanted to take last semester and will fulfill a prerequisite for her fall classes.

Students who choose to enroll in transfer courses are expected to get prior approval for any course they wish to take to fulfill either major or core requirements, said Michael Jordan, director of undergraduate academic affairs.

“Approval is granted by the relevant department in each area,” Jordan said. “Students have transcripts sent to St. Thomas and these transcripts are checked against the record of prior approval.”

Breen met with a university official who helped her figure out how the summer course would transfer. The application process for the class was a struggle because of problems with math prerequisites, Breen said, and because they had to make sure the course aligned with the math curriculum.

“If I didn’t have to deal with that, it would have taken me no more than 30 minutes to fill out the application and sign up for the class,” she said.

She is saving almost $3,000 by not taking this course at St. Thomas. The statistics course at Moorhead costs about $600, while a four-credit statistics course at St. Thomas would cost $3,618.

Junior Martim Quayat is taking three summer courses at Twin Cities community colleges this summer. He is taking a history course at Minneaplis Community and Technical College, a theater course at Century Community College and a communication course at Normandale Community College.

“I couldn’t find a decent job in my area of study, so I decided taking three classes would be better than an unrelated, to my field of study, job,” said Quayat, a finance major.

Quayat also went through the application process for transfer credit with help from his academic adviser. Quayat said each of his classes have at least four St. Thomas students in them.

Many students still choose to take summer classes at St. Thomas. The enrollment for summer sessions is more than 5,000 credits, about the same as last year, Jordan said.

“The number of undergraduate credits each summer since 2005 has varied from year to year, with a high of 5,688 and a low of 5,034,” Jordan said. St. Thomas offers two summer sessions: One starts in late May and finishes in early July, and the other starts in mid-July and ends in August.

Theresa Malloy can be reached at