Summer is a great time to relax and recharge, especially for our students at Dickinson State University. But not just for those important tasks. Also for learning!

Over the last few years, we have noticed that more students are making coursework a part of their summer plans. The last two summer enrollment reports showed a jump in student registration of over 100 students taking a course. Why? There are a variety of reasons, from financial to personal, that makes this the right choice for some DSU students. 

For current students, summer courses provide the opportunity to catch up or speed up their academic progress. Occasionally, students will need to retake a course. Taking an expedited course, in many instances, allows for focused study and a greater chance of success. Research published by the U.S. Department of Education found that students who were enrolled in “compressed-format” courses, usually about half the average normal term, were more likely to succeed than students enrolled in courses of regular length. This is good news for students wanting to get back on track in their academic programs.

Other students want to expedite their time to complete a degree. By adding two courses each summer, learners can often shave off one year of study, though this varies from program to program. Each term eliminated could result in thousands of dollars in savings. Other benefits of graduating early include graduate school and job opportunity boosts. Particularly in academic programs that require master’s or doctoral studies, such as law and medicine, students reap substantial benefits from early completion of their undergraduate degrees.

Incoming students who need additional support or who are not quite prepared for college can also benefit from summer courses. The North Dakota University System recently made standardized tests optional for some admissions decisions. Though eliminating the SAT or ACT requirements of the past that some of us remember (if not necessarily fondly!) can open doors for many, we are now providing access to students who might now need help getting up to speed with the rigors of college. By reducing regular semester enrollment and providing summer and intersession options, success is more attainable for populations of learners, particularly those who need to gain confidence in their educational pursuits.

Summer also offers the opportunity for those who have contemplated pursuing a college degree, a lower-risk opportunity to try out college, or a return to college. DSU offers courses in many subjects in flexible, online formats that fit most people's work schedules. These classes are offered over shorter periods of time, many in as few as five weeks. This summer, interested students can take classes in Accounting, Biology, Computer Science, and Welding, to name a few. A full schedule of selections is accessible at

Summer courses are also a great way for people who have started a college program (at DSU or elsewhere), but not completed it, to jump back into a course of study. Regardless of how many years they have been away, Dickinson State is prepared to help them get on track to meet their academic goals. For these students, DSU offers tuition support in our "Back in the Saddle" program. This scholarship reduces the cost of attendance for students. Usually it can be paired with educational support offered by employers. There has never been a better time to go back to college.

Theodore Roosevelt is famously quoted as saying, “A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” Though TR put it in a lighthearted way, I agree with his basic point about the power of higher education. With our expanded Dual Mission, we now offer a full array of options, from workforce training and trades to bachelor’s degrees and graduate programs. We would love to have you try us out this summer.  

If this is of interest, please reach out to Dickinson State. We are excited to help you achieve your goals, even if you are reading your textbook from the beach. Our admissions team can assist anyone with the application process for taking a course. Please contact us via email at or text us at 701-354-2614 if you have any questions.

Hawks are up!