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College Summer Classes: Are They Right for You?

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School’s out for summer … or is it?

The spring semester is finally over and you’re ready for a little rest and relaxation. Sure, sleeping until noon every day just because you can sounds like an excellent way to spend June, July and August, but there are a lot of advantages to taking college summer classes.

Earn College Credit in Shorter Period of Time

Depending on where you go to college, the fall and spring semesters generally range from fourteen to eighteen weeks. Summer sessions usually last for four to eight weeks. That means it’s possible to earn credit for a college class much quicker than usual.

Keep in mind, though, that the classes are intensive. Things will move at a much faster pace because they must be completed sooner. For example, if you spend four hours in history class each week during the fall or spring, you’ll be spending six or eight hours per week in that same class during the summer. If you tend to procrastinate, you’ll have to buckle down and stay on track during a condensed summer class—that term paper will be due before you know it.

Repeat a Failed Class or Take Prerequisites

If you failed a class during the regular school year, you might be able to take it a second time in the summer. If a subject is tough for you, it’s to your advantage to give it another shot when you are only concentrating on that one class rather than four or five classes.

If one of your required classes has a prerequisite that you haven’t taken yet, why not get it out of the way during the summer? Then you can take the required class during the fall. Fewer students enroll in summer classes, which means that you will most likely have better interaction with the professor.

Graduate Early (or Graduate on Time)

Pathways to Prosperity, the 2011 study by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, found that just 56% of students earn a four-year degree within six years. Taking college summer classes can help you earn more college credits over the course of a year, possibly allowing you to graduate early … or at least on time.

Want to Change Majors? Test the Waters this Summer

It’s not uncommon for college students to change their major. If you’re on the fence but want to get your toes wet before making the plunge, try a summer class to see if something really interests you after all.

College for High School Students

Many colleges and universities have summer programs for high school students. In some instances, students can earn college credit before they even graduate from high school. Even if the classes are taken for personal benefit rather than credit, prospective colleges will take notice when it’s time to send out your applications. Enrolling in classes that aren’t required shows motivation and dedication. Spending time on a college campus can also give high school students a taste of what’s to come!

Related Post:

Pre-College Programs for High School Students Offer Taste of College Life

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Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.


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