For most college students, summer is the perfect time to finally unwind and take a break from the rigorous classes they have spent hours studying and working for. However, many college students also take this time to either catch up on credits or move ahead in their coursework. Maybe you want to retake a class that you did not obtain a satisfactory grade in. Or you want to get some electives out of the way.
5 Reasons Why People Enroll in Summer Classes
People Sometimes Have Different Reasons for Signing Up for a Summer Class
There are numerous reasons why someone might want to take a summer class. Maybe they want to graduate early. Or they want to enjoy a lighter class load during the fall and spring semesters. Here are 5 of the most common reasons why people enroll in summer classes.
1. They Are Planning to Graduate Early
If you want to graduate a semester, or even a year early, taking summer classes can help you get ahead in your major. While you might not be able to take a whole semester’s worth of classes in the summer, though some might try to, taking an extra class or two can certainly lighten up your load during the fall and spring.
2. They Are Behind in Credits
If you had to take a semester off or go part-time, taking summer classes can help you catch up. This is especially useful if you want to take a class in the fall that has a specific prerequisite. Many students will take this class during the summer so they can take the following class in the fall.
3. They Want to Retake a Class
Sometimes, people have trouble with difficult classes or are dealing with an unexpected life event that makes it hard for them to keep up with their demanding academic schedule. Many colleges offer students the chance to retake the class. Some universities will average out your two grades while others will replace the new grade with the original one.
If you aren’t sure what policy your school follows, make sure to double-check it. Nonetheless, summer classes can be a great opportunity to raise your GPA.
4. They Want to Get Some Gen-Eds Out of the Way
Taking gen-eds is a great way to keep your brain active all year round. It also frees up your schedule so you can take classes in your major or minor.
5. They Just Want to Learn Something New
One of the most beautiful things about college is that you can learn almost anything you want here. Whether you want to learn the French language or the history of South America, you can find an enlightening and informative class that expands your knowledge.
But taking an extra class during the semester isn’t always easy, especially if it ends up overwhelming you. That’s why some students choose to take an extra summer class or two on a subject they normally wouldn’t have enough time to learn during the fall or spring.
Pros and Cons of Summer Classes
Before Making a Decision, You Should Weigh the Various Pros and Cons of Taking a Summer Class
There are numerous pros and cons that come with taking a summer class. Make sure you consider them before making a final decision.
Pro: College classes are usually smaller than regular semester courses
In general, class sizes will be much smaller during the summer than in the regular school year. Since most students are at home, working at a summer internship, or studying abroad, the university caps classes at a smaller size. This gives you an easier opportunity to better connect with both your professor and classmates.
Con: They will move through a ton of information at you in a short period of time
Remember that you will be learning material that is typically taught over the span of 16 weeks in half the time. Some universities even offer four-week and six-week classes. This means that you will have longer class days and that you may have to attend class four or five times a week. For example, a Biology 2 course could include 3-hour lectures taught Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If you take a lab, you may have to spend another 4 hours in class. Don’t forget to factor in time spent studying and completing homework.
If you have other time commitments during the summer such as work or a family vacation, you may end up falling behind in class, especially if you have a trip that overlaps with a class. You will need to determine how much work you can really handle during the summer.
Pro: You have easier access to your professor
In large classes, it can be hard to connect to your professor and develop a strong relationship with them. Because summer classes are smaller, it is typically easier for students and professors to get to know each other better.
Con: There aren’t as many options
Since there are fewer students and professors on-campus, schools will cut down on class availability over the summer. Therefore, the class you were hoping to enroll in might not even be offered. However, you can see if this class is offered somewhere else online or at a nearby university.
Pro: They move through the material within a shorter time span
Moving through the material at a quicker pace can be both a pro and a con. If you are taking a lower-level Gen Ed, you will probably have an easier time moving through the class than a more rigorous, upper-level class in your major. Since you move through the material faster, you won’t have to worry about taking the class for the whole summer. That way, you still have some time left to rest and enjoy your summer vacation.
Con: Taking them may lead to burnout
When most college students reach the end of a long semester, they need a solid break to rest and unwind. Taking a summer class can cut into much-needed relaxation time, putting you at an increased risk of burn-out.
Enrolling in Summer Classes On-Campus vs. Off-Campus
Consider Whether You Want to Enroll in a Class at Your Main College or Somewhere Else
You might not have to stay on-campus over the summer in order to take a summer class. Some universities offer online classes. They may also accept a certain number of summer credits from outside institutions. Before enrolling in a summer class, make sure you explore all your options for where you can take one.
Main University Campus
One of the perks of staying on-campus during the semester is the possibility of staying with friends and enjoying summertime activities you wouldn’t normally be able to do. Since everyone has a much freer schedule, you will have an easier time planning get-togethers and summer trips.
However, you will still have to focus on your summer classes and any part-time jobs you have. The extra cost of housing can also be a deterrent for some people. You can either live on-campus or off-campus. Living off-campus is usually cheaper, but you will have to determine what mode of transportation you will use to get to class every day. Any extra transportation fees or gas money will have to be taken into account for your summer budget.
Online courses allow you to take summer classes at home. You don’t have to worry about finding summer housing, bringing your car to campus, or planning weekly grocery shopping trips if you stay at home during the summer. Depending on whether you take an online course from your regular university or a community college, it can actually be cheaper than a regular in-person course.
However, the course you want to enroll in might not be offered online. Subjects such as Chemistry and Physics can also be difficult to learn online, as they typically contain a lab component.
Local University or Community College
Many students enroll in summer classes at their local university or community college to save money. Even though they are not taking classes at their main college, they will still be put through a rigorous and challenging curriculum. They can also transfer the credits back to their home university.
However, these off-campus courses may not end up being counted toward your GPA. If you are retaking a class in order to boost your GPA, you might have to take it on-campus in order to do so. Some colleges also limit the number of off-campus classes you can take in one summer. Make sure you double-check your university’s guidelines on off-campus summer classes before enrolling in one.
Summer classes can be a great opportunity to retake that class that is weighing down your GPA or to enroll in a difficult course that you want to focus on without any other distractions. However, make sure you are not overwhelming yourself with summer classes, a part-time job, and any other obligations you have while you are at home.