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Summer Course Enrollment and Student Success

 Categories: First Time Freshman |Transfer Students | Graduation Rates |Student Success  

PDF iconSummer Course Enrollment and Student Success

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➤ Findings

Summer Course Enrollment and Academic Outcomes
Across all academic outcome metrics, students who took at least one summer course during their time at CSUN earned higher cumulative GPAs and were more likely to graduate on time (2 and 4-year graduation rates for FTT, 4 and 6 year graduation rates for FTF) as compared to the matched group of students who did not take any summer courses. These findings apply to both FTF and FTT students. (additional findings with regard to disaggregated outcomes are available in the addendum).


Summer coursework can serve to help students stay on track toward their graduation goals. The current analyses support this strategy: we found that summer coursework is reliably associated with better cumulative grades and have a higher likelihood to graduate on time. Overall, our results suggest that taking summer courses is robustly associated with better academic outcomes across a large, multi-cohort student population, controlling for student demographic characteristics. It is likely that self-selection also played a role; for example, students who have access to more guidance on how to navigate their college trajectories may be more likely to take summer classes. These results may also provide evidence that summer courses can serve a facilitating role (e.g., early graduation) in addition to a remedial one (e.g., repeating a failed class). On the other hand, since not all subjects or formats in regular courses are offered over the summer, future analyses could look further into course-specific outcomes associated with summer enrollment (e.g., outcomes in lower/ upper division courses or courses from specific majors/subjects). 

A recent effort at CSUN that explicitly focuses on summer enrollment to help with student success outcomes is the  CSUN SPRINT grant, which has been shown to have a positive impact on unit accumulation.  Ongoing evaluations of outcomes associated with this program, along with summer coursework more generally, will be important for better understanding how best to support student success via summer enrollment.