3 Reasons Summer Classes Can Pay Off Big Time
If you’re like most students, your entire life has revolved around the academic year. Since you first enrolled in preschool, it’s been implied that school and learning are confined between September and May, and those three glorious months of summer belong to you.
Early on, your parents might have sent you to summer camps or daycare to keep you occupied and out of trouble. As you got older, you may have added the responsibility of a summer job, whether it was scooping at the local ice cream shop or babysitting the neighborhood kids. Still, a mention of summer school is enough to get most students running for cover, and adults might even have used it to motivate you were you were growing up. As in, “If you don’t shape up and pass this class, you’ll have to go to (cue sinister tone) summer school.”
Clearly summer classes don’t have quite the appeal of a three-month vacation but hear us out.
In some situations, continuing your education during the summer months can be the perfect way to reap major benefits when the school year starts up again. In fact, here are three reasons the decision to take a summer class could very well be the best move you make during college.
1. You can take on a challenging course
Organic chemistry. Two words that fill college students with dread, especially if you’re on the pre-med track and it’s a graduation requirement. One of the most compelling reasons to take a summer class is to check those particularly difficult classes off the list when there are fewer distractions. And by distractions, we don’t just mean those fun social events during the academic year, although they’re certainly a part of it. During an intensive summer session, you typically take just one class for around eight weeks, allowing you to focus all of your efforts on a single subject. There will also likely be fewer students, giving you more one on one time with the instructor. With these factors working in your favor, you’ll probably find it easier to pass a challenging class when you don’t have to juggle the demands of twelve other credit-hours.
2. You can pursue opportunities in the fall and winter
If you’re considering summer classes, it might be because you read our post on how to use your summer more productively – or maybe you didn’t quite land that sought after summer job or internship. That’s okay. Do you know who you’re competing with for a limited number of summer positions? Pretty much every other student at traditional, two-semester colleges. Once summer ends, those same businesses that were overflowing with interns are now starved for help around the office. Taking classes during the summer gives you the flexibility to pursue different opportunities while your peers are all following the crowd during the conventional school year.
3. You can graduate early
College can be an incredibly rewarding time in your life, but it’s also expensive – and we’re not just talking about the classes. We all know that many colleges come with a steep upfront cost, but you’re also paying a significant opportunity cost. It’s possible to work 40 hours a week as a full-time student, but it can also hurt your grades. Unless you’re working in a field that contributes to your career, that job might not be worth the pay. As a result, many college students are effectively putting off reaching their full earning potential as long as they’re enrolled. Considering data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows it takes students an average of 5.7 years to earn a degree, that can be a very costly decision indeed. Graduating sooner means you can potentially save thousands of dollars and jumpstart your career.
We understand the temptation to spend your summer by the pool or beach, and we know that it takes a lot of resolve to sign up for summer classes. The good news? So do potential employers. In addition to the benefits outlined above, summer classes on your transcript show companies you’re serious about your future. In the world of full-time employment, very few people (we’re looking at you, teachers!) get summers off. This fact can be a bit of a culture shock for the freshly minted college graduate. By taking summer classes, you unlock big benefits while demonstrating your ability to maintain your focus year-round.