Incoming ECU freshmen Alex Jessett, left, and Ashton Mares jumpstarted their coursework by taking summer school courses. Both are on the ECU volleyball team, and the head start on academics will help when the fall season cranks up in September. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

ECU freshmen kick off college careers with summer enrollment

July 28, 2014

By Doug Boyd
ECU News Services

Just a couple of months ago, Nadiya Yerich was at her Havelock High School graduation. Now, she’s already well into her college coursework while most of her freshmen classmates are still winding up their summers.
Summer school classes helped incoming EC Scholar and Honors College freshman Nadiya Yerich get a head start on academic requirements. (Photo courtesy of ECU Honors College)

“The benefits of enrolling early definitely outweigh the cons,” she said. They include getting a head start on coursework and learning about research opportunities, shadowing and jobs offered by ECU, she added.

And she’s been able to learn her way around campus. “I won't have to be another lost freshman come fall,” she said.

According to university statistics, during the past five years roughly 25 to 50 freshmen have entered school each year during a summer session. That’s fewer than 1 percent, but it’s a chance to get a head start on college. The athletics department brings in about 30 percent of its freshmen in the second summer session.

“In the summer, students do not take as many hours, and campus life just runs at a slower pace than during the regular semester,” said Nita Boyce, assistant athletics director for student development. “This allows new freshmen to more easily learn how to navigate a college campus as well as a college course. Hopefully they then won't be so overwhelmed when they return in the fall.”

That’s the case for freshmen volleyball players Alex Jessett and Ashton Mares. They began school in late July and are living in Cotten Residence Hall.

“It’s helpful because we know what we’re doing before we start our season,” said Jessett, who’s from Houston. The volleyball season begins Sept. 5. She and Mares are taking music and introduction to sociology. Their days begin with a 6 a.m. workout followed by classes and then study hall. Twice a week they have afternoon scrimmages.

They also learn their way around campus. “We know how many minutes it takes to get from the dorm to the gym, because that’s crucial with the 6 a.m. workouts,” said Mares, who’s from Fort Collins, Colorado.

Daniel Wiseman, an academic counselor in the School of Communication, said starting early can be a benefit. “I definitely think that it could have its advantages because it’s so much of a slower pace here over the summer,” he said.

Yerich, an EC Scholar and Honors College student, is taking chemistry, chemistry lab and physical education in the second session. She also attended the first session of summer school.

“Being an Honors College student as well as an EC Scholar, I have to meet a lot of scholastic requirements,” Yerich said. “That on top of being a biomedical engineering major would have left me with a tough course load for my initial semester of college. Starting college early has turned out to be a fantastic segue into my next four years here at East Carolina.”

She said her course workload is “not too heavy” and has given her a chance to get to know her new town.

“I definitely recommend starting college early to anyone who has the inkling to get ahead and not be lost as a freshman come fall,” she said.