That is the question.
Summer courses are a great way to get ahead of your classes, or play catch-up if you took a lighter course load or failed a class. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to studying throughout the summer.
If you decide to take summer courses: don’t panic! Summer courses are not necessarily more difficult (or any easier) than regular classes, but they do require a slightly different approach. Listed below are some things you should keep in mind when tackling summer courses:
Summer courses are condensed into three-month semesters. That means a two semester (full year) course retains all of the material but must be accomplished at twice the speed! Because of this, organization is vital to success. There is also no time for procrastination: you cannot miss classes or skip assignments. There just isn’t any room to fall behind because the workload is packed in so tightly.
The workload and expectations are on par with any other course you have taken. For this reason, it is imperative that you maintain good attendance, participate, and keep up. It is all manageable with good preparation, commitment, and organization. Remember: if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail!
Professors mark the same, lecture the same, and expect the same output from their students during summer semesters as in any other semester. If you feel you’re unable to manage the intense course load, it is important to talk to your professor as soon as possible to discuss what you are struggling with and how to find a solution.
Now, I don’t want to scare you. We’ve covered what’s difficult about summer classes, so let’s have a look at what can be great about them:
Summer courses are great for a more personal approach to learning. Classes are often smaller and professors are often less busy. It’s important to take advantage of this situation: talk with your professors during office hours to build relationships, ask as many questions as you want during lectures, and take the opportunity to meet and learn from your peers.
Lighten Your Load: Stay Active
Taking summer courses is also a great way to ease your workload in September. Taking one less course in the winter may give you an opportunity to give more attention to other classes or activities. Also, it’s important to stay mentally stimulated over the summer – you’ll be much quicker off the blocks come September!
Remember that summer courses are an intense exercise in learning: classes are often five days a week. If you take more than one class per summer semester it’s even more important to stay organized and focused. If you do take a full course load during a summer semester, you should expect to work just as much as you would during the fall or winter.
One of the main disadvantages to summer courses is that it limits your opportunity to earn some money for September. If working and saving up during the summer is a priority, you should ultimately limit the number of summer courses you take.