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Summer 2011 Information

 

Dear FAST TRAIN Students,

Below is the information you need to know about Summer 2011.  Please read this email carefully, as it should answer all your questions about attending summer courses at Mason.

1) Summer Schedule

2) Registration

3) Housing

4) Tuition Payment

5) Financial Aid

6) Summer Testing – No VRA in Summer 2011

7) International Student Visas

8) Textbooks

9) Orientation

10) Mandatory Advising for Fall 2010- Summer 2011 New Students

11) What to Expect

12) Participate in Job Search Seminar

13) Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

1) Summer Schedule

The summer schedule is posted on the FAST TRAIN website under: http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/summer/. Mandatory orientation will take place at 8:30AM on Sunday, June 26.  Summer session I is June 27 – July 7; Summer session II is July 8 – July 19; and Summer session III is July 20 – July 29.  The IB capstone will be Sunday July 30 – August 5 for those Elementary students who wish to earn the IB Teacher Award. 

As usual, FAST TRAIN staff will be driving students to Target to pick up supplies AND groceries on Saturday, June 25 at 3PM.  Plan to meet at the Mason statue near the center of campus.  This is the perfect opportunity to pick up anything you need.  There is a Giant grocery store within walking distance to Mason.

In addition to courses, FAST TRAIN will host a library and technology orientation for new students, international students will be required to attend OIPS orientation, and there will be an information panel on finding jobs overseas.  For a complete schedule of events please review the PDF calendar here: http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/summer/

 

2) Registration

Course registration is now open.  The priority deadline to register for classes is June 1, 2011.  Please turn in your registration form by this date in order to guarantee a seat in your requested courses.  Registration forms are available on the website here: http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/current-students/register/.  All students are required to fill out both the registration form and program planning form to complete the registration process. 

3) Housing

Summer 2011 housing information is now available.  Please review the housing information here: http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/summer/sum-housing/.   Intern housing (available for students staying longer than 30 days) is open.  Please sign up for intern housing AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.   Be sure to include FAST TRAIN in the housing application form so that you will be placed with other FAST TRAIN students in the apartments.

**PLEASE NOTE*** if you are planning to stay LESS than 30 days, the short-term hosing prices have not been posted yet.  We recommend waiting a few days more before filling out the short-term housing request information.  Students staying less than 30 days will be housed in dorm rooms with or without kitchenettes.

 

4) Tuition Payment

We have not received final word about tuition costs for Summer 2011.  However, we do expect at least a small increase to be announced on in-state tuition.  (Out of state students will continue to pay $75 above in-state tuition per class.) If you are registered before May 16, tuition is due by May 16.  If you are registered after May 16, tuition is due within 5 business days.   We will update the FAST TRAIN website as soon as final tuition rates have been announced.   For information on how to pay tuition, please review the student account website: http://studentaccounts.gmu.edu/payment.html.

 

5) Financial Aid

Unfortunately, FAST TRAIN staff cannot answer many questions about financial aid.   We recommend you review the financial aid website here: http://financialaid.gmu.edu/index.html and speak with a financial aid counselor about your eligibility.  FAST TRAIN’s unique class schedule can make it difficult for students to qualify for aid. 

 

6) Summer Testing – No VRA in Summer 2011

Please review the following website for comprehensive information about summer testing. http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/summer/summer-calendar/.  This site contains information on testing dates as well as  when FAST TRAIN will provide transportation to the VCLA and Praxis II exams.   Transportation sign up will be at orientation and outside the FAST TRAIN offices this summer.  Email reminders will go out.

Please note that there will be no VRA administered this summer during the FAST TRAIN program.  Virginia Department of Education is currently switching vendors for this test, so the last paper administration will be on May 14.  A new computer based-test will begin administrations in September.  We have tried to work with VDOE and the vendor to get a VRA test date in summer but to no avail.  Because the format is changing, there is simply no test available to take this summer.  Effected Elementary students will be able to take the VRA in Summer 2012.  However, the new computer-based test will be available starting September 2011.  We will send out information on new dates as soon as we have them.  Please contact Jennifer Coarts ([log in to unmask]) with “VRA” in the subject line if this will affect your plans to earn your VA teaching license. 

 

7) International Student Visas

International students requiring a visa to attend classes should review this new webpage for more information:  http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/summer/international/.  Students attending for the full five-week program must demonstrate funds of at least $6,000 (US) to cover expenses while in the program.  (If staying less than the full program, estimate $2,000 per class enrolled.)   All documentation for your visa must be received by April 15 to ensure enough processing time before summer begins.

 

8) Textbooks

Textbook orders are being finalized now.  You should be able to see final textbook orders posted at the GMU bookstore website by April 1.  To find a list of required textbooks please go to: http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/current-students/textbooks/   Information on having the books shipped is also available.    Unfortunately at this time, the bookstore will not be open on orientation day, June 26.  We are trying to work out an arrangement to have the bookstore open during orientation so that you may purchase your books that day.  We will keep you posted if we are able to open the bookstore.

 

9) Orientation

So, you are returning for your third year in the program and really don’t want to sit through the same old orientation with the FAST TRAIN Program again – right?  Well, this year, orientation will be completely different.  We are asking our returning students to help us orient new students to the FAST TRAIN Program.  After breakfast at 8:30AM and a brief introduction to our new staff, we will have FAST TRAINers break down into different discussion groups by program and by year in FAST TRAIN.  You’ll have a chance to ask questions of each other as well as our staff, and you’ll have an opportunity to delve into specific issues related to your program.   This new orientation will be more interactive and hopefully more informative than in years past.  However, it is mandatory, so plan to be there regardless.  If you are attending  only one session, you’ll have a mandatory advising appointment with FAST TRAIN staff (see below).

 

10) Mandatory Advising for Fall 2010- Summer 2011 New Students

All new students will be required to attend a mandatory advising session with a FAST TRAIN advisor during summer session I.  For students who begin the program in Summer 2011, your advising session will take place on Sunday, June 26 after orientation.  A final schedule will be sent out by June 1.   If you are a new student from Fall 2010 or Spring 2011, your mandatory advising appointment will take place the week of June 27 after class (3:30 – 5:30PM).  Again, a final schedule will be sent out June 1.  If you are planning on attending only summer session II or III, you’ll need to stop by the FAST TRAIN office on either July 7 (3:30-5:30PM) or July 20 (3:30-5:30PM) to receive orientation and advising materials.  No need to schedule an appointment as we will have opening advising hours on these dates. 

 

11) What to Expect

For many of you this is the first time you’ll be taking intensive summer session classes.    The five week program can be both grueling and rewarding.   You’ll be in class from 8:30AM – 3:30PM five days a week for five weeks.  Attendance in class is absolutely mandatory.  In addition, you’ll have several readings plus writing assignments and presentations that you’ll need to complete in the evenings.   Each day of your 8 days is the equivalent of two weeks during a regular academic semester.   Be prepared to devote all of your energy to your classes, minimize distractions by staying in campus housing, and remember -  you wouldn’t have been admitted to the program if we didn’t believe you could handle it!

 

12) Participate in a Job Search Seminar

This year, we will be hosting a brief panel discussion on job search strategies for international teachers.  We are hoping to bring in a guest speaker to highlight some unique international teaching opportunities, but we also want to hear from you.  If you are currently working overseas and are interested in participating in the panel, please email Jackie Kakar at [log in to unmask].  The seminar will take place July 12 at 3:30PM.

 

13) Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  I am planning on taking CLEP tests to complete my endorsement requirements – where and when can I take these tests?

A:  We recommend scheduling your CLEP exams on the weekends to avoid conflicting with class or evening activities.  The most convenient testing center is located at the Clarendon Metro at the Strayer University - Arlington Campus (2121 North 15th Street Arlington,  VA  22201).  Sign up for CLEP tests by going to http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/clep/about.html.

Q:  May I bring my family (and/or pets) with me to campus housing?

A:  No.  On-campus housing is available ONLY for George Mason University students.  Children, spouses, significant others, and pets are not allowed to stay.  Housing is single gendered apartments or dorms, so FAST TRAIN couples may not share apartments.

Q:  When should I sign up to take the VCLA or Praxis I & Praxis II exams?

A: As soon as possible.  Do not wait to sign up for these licensing tests until you arrive on campus.  Space fills up quickly for all of these tests, so sign up as soon as you can.

Q:  Does FAST TRAIN provide computers for me to use while I attend class?

A:  Yes, FAST TRAIN has a limited supply of laptops for students to borrow during the program.  Students can check out laptops at orientation, technology orientation, or by coming to the FAST TRAIN office.  A $500 fee will be assessed for lost or damaged laptops.  Students can check out laptops for all or part of the summer program.

Q:  What is the best way to get to the George Mason University campus?

A:  The closest airport to Mason is Dulles International Airport.  From here, you can take a cab or super shuttle to campus.  If you are arriving via Regan International Airport, you can take the Metro to the Vienna station, and catch either the CUE bus or Mason shuttle to the main campus (10 minute ride). 

Q; Where is the FAST TRAIN Office located?

A:  We’re moving!  The FAST TRAIN office will be moving back to campus in May 2011.  Our new offices will be in Krug Hall (room information to come).  Until then, you can find us in the townhouse complex, 4260 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030.

-- 
Stacy Wilson
Assistant Coordinator, FAST TRAIN Programs
College of Education and Human Development
4260 Chain Bridge Rd
Fairfax, VA  22030
Office: 703-993-3173
Fax: 703-246-8996
http://fasttrain.gmu.edu/