Published: Dec. 2, 2015

Heidi Wicklund isn’t someone who shies away from a challenge. The economics major from Stillwater, Minnesota is used to balancing schoolwork, a job, volunteer duties as a hockey skating coach, and free time in the mountains with seeming grace and ease.

But she also understands the opportunity cost of having several competing commitments. Last year—with two years of CU Boulder coursework already under her belt—Wicklund decided to reduce her course load to save money and finalize her state residency. She split her days between school and full-time work, managing a candy store on Pearl Street by day and taking classes through CU Boulder Continuing Education in the evenings.

Wicklund’s diligence paid off. She achieved her financial goals by spring 2015, but found herself behind in her coursework for a 2016 graduation. So, she decided to take advantage of Summer Session. Heidi took five courses between May and August 2015: one in Maymester, two in Session A, and two in Session B.

“It was not my plan to take five courses,” Wicklund said. “I was only going to take one class in B term, either Intro to Econometrics or Native American studies. I was nervous Econometrics was going to be too hard because summer classes are rigorous. But after the first few days in Econometrics, I thought, ‘Ok, I really like this class.’ I had also registered for Native American studies just in case I had to drop Econometrics and then really loved it too, so I took both instead of dropping one.”

Most of the summer courses Wicklund took were upper division requirements for her major, which allowed her to advance her degree at a rapid pace. But she saw many other benefits in taking summer courses including access to new and different professors, smaller class sizes, and the ability to focus on fewer courses.

“I liked taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from Nicholas Flores, who is head of the Economics Department,” she commented. “He doesn’t teach many classes, so that was awesome. I also liked being able to work on one or two classes at a time without worrying about taking five midterms and five finals like I do during the fall and spring semesters. My classes were still hard, but Summer Session let me put all my energy into just a few classes at a time.”

In addition to her unique learning experiences, Wicklund also raised her GPA by 0.3 points in just 13 weeks. “I would absolutely recommend Summer Session to other students,” Wicklund said with a smile. “And it’s not like I didn’t enjoy summer; I did a lot of fun things outside of class.”

Wicklund is once again enrolled as a full time student at CU Boulder. And thanks to her efforts last summer, she is on track to graduate in May 2016.