Seated with his fellow graduates in Camp Randall Stadium at spring commencement, Brandon Arbuckle knew he had one loose end to tie up before leaving the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
The journalism and history major from Lyndon Station, Wis., needed one more 4-credit, upper-level class in strategic communication to clinch the deal.
“I felt closure from commencement to a certain extent but getting to take this one additional class was a great epilog to my education here at Madison,” says Arbuckle, who took an intensive, four-week course in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication taught by Ben Deutsch, a former vice president for corporate communications at The Coca-Cola Company.
Finishing his coursework – just a month after the commencement ceremony, in which Arbuckle was able to participate because he was so close to graduation – was made possible by a $1,000 Summer Finish scholarship, designed to help UW–Madison students complete their degree requirements during the summer.
The program provides financial help to aid students in graduating in a timely way, save costs and help them enter the job market or graduate school sooner.
“Graduating in the summer can save students an additional semester, depending on course availability and student commitments,” says Keri Johnson, assistant director of Summer Term in the Division of Continuing Studies.
Johnson says the program also helps build awareness among students of the possibility of graduating in the summer.
Another scholarship recipient, Kerchia Asia Lee, of Menomonee Falls, Wis., also needed 4 credits to complete her biology degree. She took Dance 100 and Counseling Psychology 230 in a four-week session and left UW–Madison in mid-June with her degree.
“Growing up, I was a traditional Hmong dancer,” she says. “But I never took a dance class or a child development class before.”
In addition to allowing her to expand the breadth of coursework en route to graduation, the Summer Finish scholarship provided the concrete support she needed to graduate.
“I didn’t work in my whole senior year, so I relied on my parents a lot for finances,” Lee says. “It was very important for me to get the scholarship, so they wouldn’t have to worry about paying my tuition.”
This fall, Lee will begin her studies at the Medical College of Wisconsin Pharmacy School in Milwaukee.
“Students should consider the Summer Finish scholarship if they need summer classes to finish up. It’s a very generous amount that they offer,” she says.
Entering the job market
Arbuckle, who landed a digital news internship at Channel3000.com in Madison, says the scholarship helped take a financial burden off of his family, while allowing him to quickly finish his degree and get into the professional world.
“It was a huge help for me,” says Arbuckle, a first-generation college graduate. “Without that scholarship, I might have had to figure out a different way to finish and pay off the last few credits I needed.”
For more information on how to apply for the scholarships, visit: summer.wisc.edu/summer-finish.