What to Know About College Summer Classes

Many students feel that summer is meant for rest and relaxation—and it should be! That said, colleges and universities offer hundreds of summer classes each year for students to take advantage of. Typically, these summer classes range from a just a few weeks to a couple of months, but the classes aren’t always all day or every day of the week. When taking summer classes, students often forget they can arrange their schedule and customize it so the classes they take still fit into their idea of a relaxing summer.

What students need to know about college summer classes is that you can get a more personalized learning experience and still have a summer to enjoy, despite taking a class or two! Read on to find out how college summer classes might benefit you.  

The benefits of college summer classes are often underestimated

Many students may fear summer classes because they aren’t familiar with what they entail and how positive of an impact they can have on one's schooling. But taking just one or two classes during the summer can help you get ahead in your degree path. This could allow you to take a lighter course load in upcoming semesters, or give you the potential to graduate earlier than expected. It can also be beneficial if you have to retake any classes, as summer classes might be more manageable to focus on and succeed in, due to not having many other classes to distract you.

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During the regular semester, hitches can come up in your degree plan. If you are waitlisted for a class, for instance, taking this class in the summer (if it is offered) could end up being a less stressful solution to your problem and will allow you to still stay on track for your degree.

College summer classes don’t have to bog down your whole summer

Contrary to popular belief, you can still experience summer vacation if you take a class or two. Oftentimes, students think of college summer classes as the equivalent of the dreaded summer school (where classes are typically most of the summer). In some cases, yes, summer classes can last a good part of your summer. Typically, though, they won’t be all day every day. The timeframe differs for every class and every school, but they can range from a variety of set-ups. Any combination, including the examples below, could occur:

  • Three weeks long, four days a week, five hours a day

  • Four weeks long, three days a week, four hours a day

  • Six weeks long, two days a week, three hours a day

Sometimes, classes will work homework time into the class set-up as well, and some summer classes might involve projects where you get class time off to work on your own. Not all class schedules in the summer are cut and dry, so you might be surprised at the free time you have. Just remember to take note of the attendance policy and follow it appropriately!

College summer classes can provide a more intimate learning experience

Class sizes vary during the regular semesters, but often, students looking for small, intimate class sizes are left disappointed. Summer classes, however, can have a smaller enrollment limit than usual. With the relaxed feel of classes during the summer and a smaller class size, students may be more likely to encounter a more personal learning experience than they would during the year. Teachers might not be teaching any other classes at the time (and if they are, it might only be one or two), so they very well might devote more attention to your particular class. The same goes for you—if you aren’t enrolled in four or five other classes, you will be able to devote more focused time to the class, making the time requirement outside the classroom likely less.

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Keep in mind, if you are planning on going home for the summer, this can still apply to you. Find a community college near you that might have course credits that would transfer to your school. You can still work to get ahead in your degree while being home for the summer—just make sure to verify the classes you choose will count toward your school’s program requirements successfully. Most importantly, remember that summer classes aren’t as scary as they may sound, and they might end up benefiting you in many unexpected ways!

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