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Summer Vs. Regular Semester Classes

by Andrew Aarons

Most students associate summertime with beach holidays, flings, and sleeping in. But many of those same students will end up taking a summer class at some point in their college or university careers. While sitting in class is less fun than sitting on the dock, there are some distinct advantages to taking a summer course.

Classes Are Shorter

The spring / summer semester is often split into two halves, so instead of classes being four months long, they’re usually two months long. This is useful for anyone who doesn’t want to be on campus for the whole summer, and it works particularly well for students who need to take a summer class but want to work full-time for at least two months before the fall semester starts. The shorter classes offer greater flexibility and the opportunity to have a real summer holiday, even if you spent the first or second half of the summer in school.

More Intensive

Ever notice that you forget what your professor says week to week? That’s harder to do in a summer class. That’s because, to make up for being shorter, summer classes are more intensive. They often dedicate twice as much lecture time per week as regular semester classes. The advantageous part about this is that by being so heavily immersed in what you’re studying, it can be easier to absorb it. In other words, you could actually learn more and get a higher grade.

Make Up Missing Credits

If you got fewer credits one year than you planned to, taking a summer class may be your best option. Unlike taking a class during the regular semester after your program was supposed to end, a summer class won’t add any time to the length of your study and delay your job search. And unlike taking an extra class during the regular semester, a summer class won’t over-saturate your schedule and lead to burnout. Just keep in mind that a lot of core courses won’t be offered during the summer, so make sure to take those during the regular school year.

Flying Solo

Sure, scholarly pursuits are important, but let’s face it: whether you like school or not depends a lot on the people you go to school with. If you’re sick of the people you usually sit beside in class, or if you just want to branch out and meet people outside of your regular program cohort, a summer class may have social benefits. A lot of your classmates won’t be around during the summer, so summer classes are often an interesting mix of people from different disciplines and years.

About the Author

Living in Canada, Andrew Aarons has been writing professionally since 2003. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ottawa, where he served as a writer and editor for the university newspaper. Aarons is also a certified computer-support technician.

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