Summer Session paves the way for faster graduation

Students studying on the lawn in front of the library.

Students who take summer courses are more likely to earn their degrees

While summer can be a time to relax and soak up the sun, San Francisco State University senior Elizabeth Estabrooks spent last summer soaking up something else: college credit. The English literature major took two courses she needed to graduate during the University’s 2018 Summer Session. Now she’s set to receive her degree in May just two years after transferring to San Francisco State.

“I’m a really structured person, so I wanted to finish within a certain amount of time,” said Estabrooks. “Summer classes helped me do that.”

Carla Pennington

SF State senior Elizabeth Estabrooks

Last year more than 6,000 students took Summer Session classes at SF State. The 2019 Summer Session offers 630 courses, 133 of which can be taken online. Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Maria Martinez says 95 percent of freshmen who took Summer Session courses last year returned in the fall: a vast improvement from the typical freshman retention rate.

“If you’re taking summer classes, then the likelihood that you will graduate in a timely manner is higher,” said Martinez. “We recognize that there are a number of students who have work and family responsibilities and may not take a full load of courses every semester. Summer Session can be used as a time to catch up.”

SF State’s Summer Session allows students to take required courses that may have limited enrollment in the fall. Summer classes are held over five, eight or 10 week sessions, so students can choose the schedule that best fits their summer plans. And available summer housing is another benefit: This year, freshmen living in student housing who stay on campus for Summer Session will be given priority confirmation of their housing request their sophomore year.

For those reasons and more, Estabrooks encourages other students to sign up for Summer Session. Thanks to the courses she took last summer, she says, she had more time her senior year for networking, preparing for graduation and activism.

“If I had not taken those classes last summer, I would have had to take time out of my schedule this year,” said Estabrooks, who is the director of EROS, a student organization that promotes understanding of sexuality and gender through peer education. “I don’t think I would have been as active and able to form connections with people outside of my classes. I’m very grateful to have had the time to do that this year.”

The first Summer Session classes begin June 10. Registration is already underway. For information about registration, dates, classes, fees, housing and more, go to