Making the Most of Summer Courses

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June 18th, 2009 in Education

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While a lot of students get a job, travel, or do anything but think about school during the summer, there are also students who like to think ahead and take summer courses. This might seem like it doesn’t have any benefits, but the truth is that taking summer classes can help you in a lot of ways. If you haven’t thought this out before, now is the time to do it so you have a better chance in college.

Some students might tell you that the benefits of “taking a break” during the summer outweigh everything else, but there are two sides to the story. Summer courses might not be as exciting or fun (although they can be!), but they can be a lot of help. So, before you start planning your summer, here are some things to consider.

Concentrated Brainpower

If you have a tough class that is going to take a little extra work to do well in, taking it during the summer, when you usually have a lighter class load, allows you to concentrate on it more. This can lead to you doing better than if you’d taken it during fall or spring semester.

On the other hand, if you take an easy class during summer semester you can also use that concentrated brainpower packed into the summer weeks to really ace the class. This can do wonders for your GPA if you want to have something on your resume that allows you to stand out a little bit when you graduate and enter the workforce.

Reduce Fall Workload

Getting a tough class out of the way during the summer can also make your upcoming fall semester a little easier. This goes along with the point above, but it’s big enough to mention in its own right. If you can stack your fall semester with easy to intermediate classes, you can end up with a lot less stress in your life.

This can make you happier and also increase your chances of getting better grades if you use the reduced workload for more than coasting or drifting along. Good grades are still going to take work, but if you can take summer classes to reduce your course load in the fall, it’s going to help you make the most of your college experience.

Smaller Classes / Individualized Instruction

With less people enrolled in summer classes, it’s easy to get more individual one-on-one time with your professor. This can do wonders for what you learn in the class – which will be reflected in your grades. Sometimes being able to get more of the professor’s time can make a class a really special experience.

Less Weeks / More Hours

Because summer classes typically last five weeks instead being spread out over three or four months, they’re typically longer in duration each time you meet. By concentrating the learning into a smaller period of time with longer hourly sessions, some students are able to learn the material better. This results in better grades and a higher GPA.

Focus and Fortitude

By being able to focus on one or two classes instead of four or more classes you might take during a traditional semester, it’s easier for most people to do better. This is because they don’t have to split themselves in too many directions at once. Going for a short burst like this can give you the fortitude and stamina you need to see you through to graduation.

The Study Zone

Some people have trouble getting back into “the study zone” when fall semester finally rolls around. While most can ramp up to speed in a week or two, getting back into the groove, taking summer classes can make sure you never step out of the study zone. This can help you get better grades because you’re training yourself year round to have good study habits and have less of a chance to slack off.

Summer Fun (In School)

While you might not think of taking classes in the summer as fun, they can actually be more enjoyable than fall classes because the classes are smaller and you spend longer hours around the same group of people. If you happen on a great class and a good professor, you’re in for the time of your life while you’re getting ahead of other students. You also gain all the benefits talked about earlier.

Summer Courses For the Win

If you add up all the good things about taking summer courses, you can see why it might stack up or even be better than the best summer vacation, even though it might not have seemed so at first. You still have to apply yourself, but taking classes year round (with small breaks here and there) can really help you keep your grades up and learn more. As with most things in life, it takes hard work, but it’s worth it in the end when you walk away with a win in your education.

  • 1

    Paul States

    June 18th, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Lots of truth here. I’m not taking classes this summer since I live too far away and (I thought) I had a stable job to come back to. But I’m really wishing I had — I could’ve gotten another math class out of the way, and they had some great summer PE classes that would simply be a fun experience.

  • 2

    Kris Hintz States

    June 19th, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for a great post on summer courses. Another benefit is reducing college cost. A student attending an expensive private college can take summer courses at a nearby state university, fulfilling requirements for a fraction of the cost.

    Check out my post on diverse ways a college student can spend the summer at

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