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Should You Take Summer Classes? Pros and Cons

Aug 12, 2013 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Summer is here, and with it the opportunity to sign up for summer classes. But is studying over the summer a good idea? Here’s an overview of the advantages it can bring—and also the disadvantages.

Pros of Summer Classes

You could graduate earlier.
Getting some of your credits out of the way over the summer means you could potentially graduate from a traditional or accredited online college earlier than most—and earn your Bachelor’s in less than four years. This is a big advantage, especially to working students who want to be able to
get back into the workforce as quickly as possible.

See Also: Earn Your Degree Online

You could get remedial classes out of the way.
If you have to take any remedial classes for basic subjects, those classes could cut into the time you spend actually earning your major—and make it more difficult for you to graduate on time, especially if you have a lot of them. It may be a good strategy to get these classes out of the way in the summer so you can hit the ground running in the fall.

You stay in a school routine. If it’s always hard for you to transition from summer break mode to your studies, staying in school over the summer could keep you focused—and eliminate that transition. For some people, it’s better to keep up the momentum of studies by staying in school year-round. If you work best this way, it could be better for you to study over the summer.

See Also: Going to College Online

You cut down your courseload over the year. If you’re having trouble handling a full courseload during a typical academic year, summer courses may be a good way to spread out your credits so you have an easier time during the regular school year.

Smaller classes. Summer classes are often smaller as fewer students sign up for them. Smaller classes are a benefit to students in a number of ways, including more opportunity to participate in class discussions, more one-on-one attention from professors, and more opportunity for interesting methods of teaching and learning that might not be practical in a bigger classroom.

Summer Class Cons

No vacation. For many people, summer is a welcome break from the rigors of academic life. While summer classes can help some people keep focus, they can also add to the stress—especially for people who are burned out and need a break. 

No opportunity for internships.
Many students intern over the summer in areas relevant to their careers. These jobs can be beneficial in building a resume as well as valuable connections that could help you get a job after graduation. If you’re studying over the summer, you may not have the time to do an internship—and could miss out on a valuable opportunity.

Shorter classes. Classes tend to be condensed over the summer—which often makes them more difficult. In a summer class, you’ll have the same amount of materials to study—but in a shorter time, with less time for review, study groups, professor office hours, and other help. This can make it more difficult to get through a class successfully.

More expense. Classes over the summer aren’t always more expensive than those held during the regular school year—but they can be. In addition, financial aid sometimes won’t cover tuition for classes over the summer semester. This means you may have to take out additional loans to take summer classes. This isn’t always the case, however; you should talk to a financial aid counselor to find out what the situation would be in your case.

Taking classes over the summer is a good idea for some students—but a drawback for others. If you want to graduate early or get remedial courses out of the way and don’t mind the potential added expense and lack of a vacation, however, summer classes may be for you.  



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