Temple’s early graduation rate on the rise
More Owls are earning degrees ahead of schedule thanks to summer courses and academic advising.
Summer school isn’t just for playing catch up anymore. Increasingly, Temple students are leveraging summer classes to graduate early and begin their careers sooner.
“Graduating early makes a huge difference,” said international student Hermann Doerner, FOX ’18.
Doerner impressed his friends and family when he earned his degree in international business—and landed a job in his desired field—months before the rest of his class, finishing in December 2018 rather than May 2019.
“It’s a win-win situation,” Doerner said from his hometown outside Frankfurt, Germany, where he now works for the director of sports at the German Football Association. Soccer, or football as it’s called in Europe, is Doerner’s lifelong passion.
Doerner played four seasons as a starter on the Temple men’s soccer team, including two as captain, earning accolades for his abilities both on the field and in the classroom. He credits his coach and his Fox Honors Program advisor with helping him prepare for a mid-year graduation.
In recent years, Temple has seen a steady rise in its on-time graduation rate thanks to its Fly in 4 program, which encourages students to connect with academic advisors to plan their academic paths. Over the past two years alone, roughly 300 participants in the program, including Doerner, have done even better, earning their bachelor’s degrees in just three or three and a half years.
“We’re thrilled to see more of our students graduating on time or even early, which allows them to reduce their debt and achieve their goals sooner,” said Jodi Levine Laufgraben, vice provost for Academic Affairs, Assessment and Institutional Research. “Summer classes are a great way to stay on track and get ahead.”
Two other well-known early graduates this December included on-air broadcaster Cassie Semyon, KLN ’18, who made headlines during an NBC internship last summer and is now working for her hometown TV news station, and football record-setter Ryquell Armstead, EDU ’18, who participated in the 2019 NFL Combine this winter as a professional football prospect.
In total, Temple’s recent early graduates earned degrees in dozens of different majors from 11 of Temple’s schools and colleges. Nearly half of those students leveraged summer courses either on campus, online or through a study abroad program.
“A great thing about summer session at Temple is that we have so many options, including courses for every major, independent study and internship credits,” said Maureen Saraco, assistant director of Summer and Special Programs. “That variety makes it super accessible.”
Doerner accelerated his path by taking three summer classes online, which he was able to complete from his home in Germany. While attending from home was a convenient option, it also meant adjusting for a significant time difference.
“Once or twice a week, I had to stay up until 3 a.m. in order to attend class online because of the six-hour time difference,” he said.
Despite those late nights, Doerner said he’d recommend taking summer classes to graduate early as a cost-effective solution. He also emphasized that the internships and networking opportunities he found at Temple were crucial to laying the groundwork for his career.
“Summer’s not one size fits all,” Saraco said. “Whether it’s online, in person, difficult classes or gen eds, every student’s situation is different.”
Saraco pointed out that students who are considering summer instruction should check in with their academic advisors and Student Financial Services since course availability and aid eligibility may vary.
Sessions also vary in length, including four-, six- or 12-week options, which allows for students to still have a break before the fall semester. Priority registration for summer courses begins March 28.