What To Know About Summer Classes

By Ashley Paskill on July 7, 2021

Over the summer, you may be tempted to just enjoy your time off and relax. However, you may want to take a summer class or two to either get caught up or move ahead of schedule. Summer classes, especially ones on campus, have a different feel than classes during the regular school year. Taking summer classes for the first time can seem overwhelming, but knowing a few key things can help ease your worries a bit.

Smaller class sizes

Summer classes typically have a smaller class size than the average class during the fall and spring semesters since fewer people take summer classes. This gives you more of an opportunity to make new friends in your class(es). You can all relate because you are focusing on your studies while others are working or taking a break. Having friends in your classes will help you power through when things get overwhelming. Having smaller class sizes also allows you to build a deeper relationship with your professor, which may be important for networking in your field. You will be able to get the support you need in the class, which will be helpful in a more difficult or intensive class.

Fewer people on campus

In general, there will be fewer people around campus over the summer. This will come in handy when you do not have to wait in long lines for your favorite food spot (as long as it stays open). Having fewer people around will also allow you to me people you may not have run into otherwise. That said, since the weather will be nicer, crime will likely increase. Use common sense and be extra cautious when navigating around campus. Consider taking advantage of security escort services if your campus offers them. Be careful with your belongings and stay alert.

Image: Ian Kelsall via https://unsplash.com/photos/5islVITCBNE

Avoid missing class

Over the summer, the length of the “semester” is shorter than the fall and spring semesters. This means that missing even one class can leave you missing a lot. To avoid feeling overwhelmed and not able to catch up, try your best to avoid missing class. Emergencies happen but avoid the temptation to skip class just to go to the beach with your friends. Doing so will cause more stress later on in the class and you may end up with a lower grade than you were hoping for. Since class sizes are smaller, your absence will stand out more to your professor. If you do not have a legitimate emergency, this will negatively impact how your professor sees you and will have less sympathy when you are struggling to get caught up.

Decide your format

Many colleges and universities offer both online and in-person summer classes, so you will be able to choose which format works best for you, your schedule, and your learning style. Be aware that not every class you may need for your major is offered online, so be sure to double-check when you register. If you know that you have trouble staying organized and struggle when you are not in a classroom, online classes will not work for you. This will be even more the case over the summer when your mind wants to drift away on the summer breeze. However, if you know you can stay on top of your work and have a job or internship, you may want to consider an online class to fit your lifestyle. Again, be sure to see what is offered in your major and go from there.

Financial aid

Unlike fall and spring semesters, summer classes generally are not covered by financial aid. A few scholarships may count, but you will likely have to pay out of pocket for the classes. To help lower the costs, you may want to look to see if you can take the class at a community college, but be sure that you will be able to transfer the credit. If you know ahead of time that you are wanting to take summer classes, you can save up and be prepared. You will likely have to pay per credit hour if you are only taking one or two classes, so it can be expensive.

Take care of yourself

If you took classes in the fall and spring and are hopping right into the summer sessions, you may begin to feel burnt out. Summer is usually a time to relax and prepare for the next school year. Summer courses are generally more intense since they last fewer weeks and have more material packed into the shorter time period. If you know you are the type of person that gets stressed out easily and needs a break, put your mental health first and avoid the summer classes. If you opt to take a summer class, be sure to take care of yourself and your mental health. Take time to have some fun between classes and assignments. After all, it is summer. It is all about finding the balance.

Summer classes can be tough, but they are not impossible if you know yourself and know how to tackle them. Taking summer classes can get you ahead or help you catch up if you fall behind.

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