Pros and Cons of Taking College Summer Courses

senior in pool, not taking college summer coursesShould you take college summer courses? Imagine this: The dog days of summer are in full swing and your friends are at the beach perfecting their volleyball techniques while getting a stunning tan, to boot. You didn’t do too well in that, perhaps, college algebra class (okay, let’s just put it out there: you tanked!) and you’re deciding whether you should take college summer courses. Surely, you can find more productive ways to spend your summers, but if you’re thinking about taking those summer classes, here are some things to consider:

Advantages of Taking Summer Classes

  • With taking summer classes, you get closer to finishing up your college degree faster. Summer classes last only about four to eight weeks at most colleges, so if you go to summer school throughout your college years, that’s a few extra classes shaved off your course load.
  • Another plus for going to summer school is that you don’t have to spend a lot of time with professors who have bad reputations. But then again, if a professor has a bad reputation for giving lots of homework, taking him or her during the summer is NOT a good idea.

Enough with the boasting; the disadvantages of taking summer courses:

  • Because summer classes only last a short time, your brain may have a hard time absorbing all of the coursework information: You may have to write an essay paper, read mountains of homework, take a midterm and final exam. If you get lucky, your professor would eliminate some of the required materials or condense the schoolwork into shorter, bite-size pieces.
  • The days are longer with taking summer college courses. There is no other way to get the hours in. Three to four credit hours are usually required for each course, and if the number of days is shortened, well, the number of hours is increased. This can lead to burnout, making you wish you hadn’t taken the summer class in the first place.
  • Shortened days also equal more homework squeezed into those days (ouch!). So be prepared to put aside a hefty amount of time after school to get things done.
  • Bonding with your college peers will be kept to a minimum. The moment you learn the professor’s name and remember where you sat last week, the class will be over.
  • You won’t have a lot of time to buy textbooks online from your favorite discount retailer either. You could simply get behind in the reading, which could ultimately result in an unsatisfactory grade–unless, of course, you borrow textbooks from the college library. Or, you could pay full price at the college bookstore.
  • Another disadvantage of going to summer school is if you have small kids at home, they are most likely on summer vacation from their school and you’ll need to find a babysitter.
  • To reiterate my first point, your friends are at the beach–Acapulco, Tahiti, The New Jersey Shore–and you are, well, in summer school.


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