At the conclusion of each fall semester, the majority of LIU Post students pack up their belongings and head home for three and a half weeks to unwind before the spring semester begins. Some more tenacious students, on the other hand, opt to enroll in winter classes, forgoing their breaks to gain a few more credits in order to get ahead or to boost their GPAs. Enrollment for 2011’s Winter Session, however, was dismal, begging the question as to whether winter classes are useful to students or are merely a marketing ploy to rake in more money for the University.
“There was a slight decrease in the Winter 2011 Session [enrollment] compared to the Winter 2010 Session,” said Concetta DiMare, Manager of Academic Scheduling in the Office of the Registrar. “For the 2011 Winter Term, 44 classes were offered, and 35 of them ran. During the Winter 2010 Term, 44 classes were offered, and 39 of them ran.”
In addition to the four-class cutback, the number of students who attended classes at Post this winter dropped from 403 in 2010 to 379 in 2011 according to DiMare, who attributes the decline to possible student work or schedule demands and professor availabilities. While a nearly six-percent reduction in enrolled students seems a slight decrease at best, some students say that they would have considered registering for a winter class if it were economically sensible for them to do so.
“I do think they’re too expensive,” said Nicole Mylonas, a senior Marketing major. “I didn’t sign up for winter classes because I have to pick up extra shifts at work to put towards paying off my student loans.”
Caitlin Kluko, a junior Elementary Education major, echoed Mylonas’ sentiment. “I was attempting to take a Spanish course at Suffolk Community College because it’s much closer to my house, and it also ended up costing a lot less,” she said. As a resident of Suffolk County, Kluko would only have had to have shelled out $167 per credit and a $20 technology fee to enroll in the Spanish course at SCC as opposed to the hefty $625 per credit and $115 in University fees required by Post.
Despite the fact that Post’s Winter Session tuition is astronomical in comparison to those of local community colleges, such as Nassau Community College and Suffolk Community College, DiMare insists that at “one-third [the price] of what the same course would be during any other term, it’s like courses are on sale during the off peak times.” She also astutely points out that “taking a winter course is a good way of bringing up your grade point average, since a student has a lesser course load in the winter to dedicate his or her time to versus the 4 to 6 courses he or she may take during any other term. So, you can really focus on the one or two courses you take.”
Billie Cinelli, a senior Public Relations major, agrees with DiMare. “I took Introduction to Political Science 2 with Professor Soupios this winter. I enjoyed the class because it allowed me to focus on one class in particular, and I retained more information from this class than I did in the fall,” she said. “Winter class is definitely money well spent, and I got an A!”
Cinelli also mentioned that there were approximately 25 students in her class, an equivalent number of students to many fall and spring semester class totals.
Unlike Cinelli, however, taking a course during Post’s Winter Session posed problems for Kluko, and her attempt to do so became increasingly more frustrating. “Post told me I wasn’t allowed to take a language during the Winter Session, so I couldn’t take it at Suffolk,” she said. “However, I found out that Post was offering an Italian class over the Winter Session, so I emailed them back asking why I was told that I could not take a language if one was being offered at Post, and they never got back to me.” Kluko is still awaiting a response from the University, leaving her to wonder whether this was a miscommunication or a ruse to try to coerce her into spending her tuition money at Post rather than at a competing institution. That remains uncertain.
What is known for certain is that student opinions of the Winter Session at LIU Post are mixed, but these classes could be very beneficial, especially to seniors approaching graduation. “Taking a course in the winter brings a student that much closer to graduating on time or ahead of schedule if they want,” said DiMare. These classes may be a worthwhile decision for seniors who are looking to lessen their onerous last semester course loads, which is another reason Cinelli chose to take a winter course as a senior.
Whether you spent your winter break relaxing and catching up with old friends or hitting the books in hopes of adding an A to your transcript, hopefully, it was a worthwhile experience. Welcome back for the Spring of 2012!