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Throwback Thursday: Non-UCLA students have had a place in campus summer sessions for decades

(Daily Bruin archive)

By Hanna Chea

June 6, 2019 4:04 p.m.

This post was updated Oct. 21 at 9:53 a.m.

Throwback Thursdays are our chance to reflect on past events on or near campus and relate them to the present day. Each week, we showcase and analyze an old article from the Daily Bruin archives in an effort to chronicle the campus’ history.

Summer sessions are coming up soon.

On top of the sweatier commute to the classroom, summer session presents a number of differences from the regular school year. One particularly distinct aspect of summer sessions, as opposed to the regular school year, is the increased integration of students from outside UCLA into the classroom. In fact, UCLA has been striving to make this a goal for its summer sessions since 1993.

A column published in the Daily Bruin on July 5, 1993, discusses UCLA’s initiative to reach out to non-UCLA students to attend summer sessions.

“Part of what summer sessions is about is outreach,” said John Johnson, then-director of the summer sessions. “Forty percent of summer session students are non-UCLA students.”

Today, UCLA has kept its promise of attempting to maintain a diverse and immersive summer program by providing opportunities for international students and high school students to attend summer classes.

According to the article, the student body attending UCLA summer sessions came for various reasons, from classes to conventions. Today, UCLA has broadened the scope of the programs it provides, offering myriad options to enroll in such as academic and online courses, summer intensive studies, immersion programs and precollege summer institutes.

A notable change in the summer session system, however, is the cost of tuition. Back in 1993, UCLA had a policy which eliminated out-of-state tuition fees for those attending summer sessions, making it easier for non-UC and out-of-state students to attend summer classes. Recent tuition fees, however, have increased prices for non-UC students attending UCLA summer sessions.

For those sticking around for the summer, enrolling in summer sessions is a popular option for students. In fact, 80% of undergraduate Bruins – approximately 25,000 students – attend summer sessions at one point in their studies. This percentage demonstrates the popularity of the program, which can be compared to the 1993 sessions which enrolled 11,500 attendees.

The Daily Bruin article explained reasons for attending summer sessions in the 1990s, including graduating early, getting a preview of the academic rigors of college life, or coming for professional reasons.

These reasons for attending summer sessions prevail even 26 years later.

Interest in taking summer sessions remains strong to this day, and now students have even greater incentives to participate. Over 1,000 UCLA academic courses are offered in the summer, which can be partially attributed to the availability of online courses. This allows for a greater outreach to students who want to pursue a college path that fits their specific interests and capabilities.

Beyond classes, UCLA hosted conferences in the summer in 1993, a form of outreach that the university continues to take part in today.

The 1993 article explains the allure of UCLA as the site of annual conventions for businesses and organizations. Compared to a hotel, the university setting gives employees a sense of going back to school, said Lisa Williams, then-conference manager for UCLA Conference Services.

From international students to business professionals, many have something to gain from summer sessions at UCLA. Though the difference in time spans nearly three decades, UCLA has not only maintained a multifaceted vision for summer sessions, but has worked to increase its scope, offering new opportunities for the diverse and growing student body attending its programs.

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