The Pros and Cons of Taking Summer Classes

Considering if summer classes are right for you? Then it's time to figure it out by looking at both sides of the issue. There are both pros and cons to this decision that should be weighed carefully. Some factors might even surprise you.

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By Laura Allan

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You've seen in your local newspaper that summer classes are starting up soon. There are even a few that fit into your intended major. So now you're beginning to wonder if you should sign up and get a few extra credits done before you go back to school. Still, you're not quite sure if it's the right decision for you. It's true that there are ups and downs to summer classes, and it's important to consider both before you make your choice.

Pros:

Getting Gen Eds Out of the Way

Who honestly enjoys gen eds anyway? There might be a few subjects you're good at, but mostly they tend to be boring, simple and not within your interests. Well, now you have a chance to take them in less time. This means that you will be able to get them out of the way and have more time for classes directly related to your major, or just more fun. So while your friends are stuck in English 101, you can be working with Shakespeare and Tolstoy.

Sticking to the Routine

During the school year, it's pretty easy to fall into a sort of rhythm. You'll hit your stride and be able to keep momentum and work ethic up. Once the school year rolls around, though, you might notice that you've lost your rhythm while goofing off during summer break. If you don't stop working, that work ethic doesn't go away. So by taking summer classes you'll already be fully in the swing of things by the time you get back to school.

Smaller course-loads

Just about every school has some sort of credit minimum for graduation. If nothing else, summer classes helps minimize that. If you can find classes that help you in your major, you can work towards your degree in both credit amount as well as major requirements. This means that during the year you'll be able to take less of a packed course-load and spend more time doing things like hanging out with friends, or just napping.

Shorter Classes

If you pick a class that you really don't want to take but have to, there is at least one thing to look forward to. In a much shorter time than during the school year, you'll be done. You won't have to put up with a subject or teacher you hate for very long, and once you've finished you'll probably still have a week or two of summer left. Some students actually excel at the shorter programs, so if you're one of those students then summer classes are probably right for you.

Cons:

No Downtime

Summer, to many, is about relieving school anxiety and cutting loose for a while. Instead of freaking out over homework and tests, you can see friends from your hometown, party and just let all that stress go. Doing another class would just maintain that high stress level and no one in college wants to hit that burnout point if they can help it. After all, once you hit the working world, you don't get a summer break anymore. Might as well live it up while you can, right?

Harder to Get a Summer Job

Sometimes people use summer to get job experience and make a little extra cash. It can really set you ahead for future resumes and make school life more financially comfortable next semester. If you're taking summer classes, it makes your schedule a little more hectic. Some places you would rather work at might not even hire you because of your inability to work certain hours.

Less Variety

At college, you might find a huge selection of classes. If you don't want to study European history, you can study ancient Asian civilizations instead! With summer classes you probably won't get that kind of selection. You'll have to take whatever is available with whatever teachers are available. Even though you won't have to be in the class for very long, it can still be a drag if you're studying something you have no interest in.

Shorter Classes

This was already listed as a pro, but it can also be a con. With no time for study groups, reviewing tests and asking teachers for help, you'll be forced to adapt or risk failing. The material also comes at you so fast that if you're not clear on an initial concept, you probably won't understand the later related concepts. If you're the kind of student who can't easily deal with a fast paced class that has no time for review, then summer classes probably aren't the best choice for you.

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