Yale Daily News

As students continue to solidify their summer plans, Yale Summer Session has received approximately three times the number of applications that would have normally been submitted at the same point in a typical year.

According to Dean of YSS and Associate Dean of Yale College Jeanne Follansbee, the increase in applications can likely be attributed to Yale’s COVID-19 Courses — a policy that grants two tuition-free summer classes to first years and sophomores who enrolled in both fall 2020 and spring 2021 and completed at least one term remotely. 

Follansbee said that in anticipation of this rise in demand, YSS is offering 226 courses this summer, spread out across two five-week sessions — an increase from the typical 180 to 190 courses that have been offered in the past. With the exception of four chemistry labs and a painting class, all of these courses will be virtual this summer. While many students are excited to put their free credits to use, others have expressed concerns about the equity of the COVID-19 Courses policy.

Despite the threefold increase in demand, Follansbee said she does not foresee any difficulties in accommodating students this summer.

“We aren’t anywhere near the number of students we can accommodate,” Follansbee said. “I think what surprised us is how early we’re getting these applications … people are making their plans earlier than we’ve seen in the past, but we still have plenty of seats.”

Follansbee noted that most summer courses do not have caps, with the exception of seminars. She added that YSS admits on a rolling basis.

Follansbee also emphasized the wide variety of classes available this summer, ranging from introductory courses satisfying major prerequisites and distributional requirements to special, summer-exclusive opportunities — including the Yale x Flatiron School Web Development Bootcamp, an intensive 10-week, two-credit curriculum offered in collaboration with the Flatiron School, and Independent Research in the Summer, a program in which students can obtain academic credit by engaging in research, projects or directed reading in a chosen field of interest.

“There’s lots to choose from, especially in this summer where the COVID credits are a possibility,” Follansbee said. “Even [for] students who didn’t earn COVID-19 courses, if they’re on financial aid, there’s support for them to take summer session courses.”

With some students electing to postpone their free COVID-19 courses to future summers, Follansbee said that the increased course offerings this summer may continue into future years.

She also noted that with the hopeful return of study abroad for summer 2022, some students may choose to use their free credits outside of Yale instead.

“When we planned for the summer, we had to make lots of estimates based on history … [as well as] the knowledge of the number of students who were likely to qualify for COVID courses,” Follansbee said. “We’ll track the number of students that use their credits this year, and we’ll adjust accordingly [for future years].”

Follansbee added that only Yale College students will be permitted to live on campus this summer — a contrast to past years, when YSS has welcomed visiting high school and college students to live and study in New Haven. This year, non-Yale students will only be able to take classes remotely.

Jingchu Lin ’24 told the News that he took an introductory Latin class at YSS last summer before his first year at Yale — an experience that he said was “very intensive” but “really fun.” Lin, an international student from China, was initially unable to obtain a visa and took classes remotely during the fall. Although he is on campus for the spring, Lin plans to enroll remotely in both five-week sessions this summer — taking “Classical Mythologies” in the first and “Reading the Constitution” in the second.

“This summer, it’s going to be very, very difficult to find opportunities in the United States, especially for international students like me,” Lin said. “So I think that might be the reason why more people are, you know, taking this opportunity to just do some credits.”

Lin, a Classics major, said that the free COVID-19 credits “definitely factored in” to his decision to take YSS classes over the summer. He added that a benefit to taking courses remotely in China is the possibility of pursuing other activities during the day while attending class at night.

Viktor Kagan ’24 told the News that he is “probably” taking YSS classes on campus this summer, although he is still considering some other options. Kagan, who is studying remotely this term, said he would not have considered taking classes if not for the free credits.

“I definitely would not have been taking summer classes [without the COVID-19 credits],” Kagan said. “The price tag is just way too expensive.”

Tuition for summer 2021 is $4,500 for a one-credit course and $8,800 for a two-credit course. For students receiving financial aid, YSS provides 50 percent off tuition for up to two classes each summer.

Kagan said that if he chooses to take classes over the summer, he is looking forward to the opportunity to connect more directly with professors and other students on campus — experiences that he has missed during his remote semester.

However, Kagan noted that not all students will be able to enjoy those opportunities.

“I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to take these courses, and I get them for free,” he said. “But I can’t forget the fact that there’s so many students, including international students, who are unable to get free courses, even though it was not a fault of their own that they have to be on campus this semester.”

The YSS application deadline for session A — the first of the two five-week sessions — is May 14. The application deadline for session B is June 18.

Zhemin Shao | zhemin.shao@yale.edu