Monday, June 1, 2015

so you're taking summer classes?

This summer, I decided to take a few extra classes at my local community college so that I wouldn't have to worry about taking them at State next year. I started them a couple of weeks ago and I will admit that I wasn't too excited about it. The important thing that I (and anyone else taking summer classes) have to remember is that getting these extra credits and requirements out of the way is going to be a major timesaver in the future! Right now I'm taking 6 credit hours which is almost half of a semester. Because of this, there is a really good chance that I'll be able to take a few 18-hour semesters and graduate an entire year early. Of course, I came into college with 15 credit hours already, but summer classes can definitely allow anyone to graduate at least a semester early.

Some people don't want to consider summer classes because of the extra cost. This is something that will be different for each individual, but in my case, spending a little extra now could save me an entire semester in the future, which is definitely worth the money! I will also hopefully be in the position to start my career earlier than expected.

So I hope I've made your outlook on summer classes a little more positive and you've decided to take some. Great! Here are my tips :)

Five Ways to Rock Summer Classes

  1. Take something that you're dreading for the school year. Even though summer classes go at a slightly faster pace than regular classes, you have a lot more time to devote to the course. People usually take at most 3 classes during summer (instead of the usual 5 during the year) which means that you can focus more on studying and doing work for your class. You're not constantly worried about something else and you'll have a greater chance of being successful. Bonus: the classes are smaller so you can have more one-on-one time with your professor!
  2. Wake up later than you do during the school year. In my experience, summer classes have a much more relaxed vibe. While this doesn't mean that being late is acceptable, I don't worry too much about getting ready for class and usually just throw on a tee shirt and running shorts. It's really helpful that one of my classes happens to be tennis, but I tend to spend the same amount of time getting ready for my economics class. Summer and casual clothes just go together. 
  3. Try to take your classes online. I think the chances of finding the class you need online is 50/50 but if you do have the opportunity, go for it! I've taken a few online classes (and I'm currently in one now) and I've really enjoyed them. I've found that I work well at my own pace and don't particularly need interaction with the teacher or class. The great thing about online classes during summer is that you can still enjoy vacations and free time without having to worry about being home for class. I'm planning around my classes, but it would be so nice if all of mine were online and I could spend weeks on vacation. 
  4. Take what you can at a community college. For my college and probably most others, your last 60 hours must be completed at the university. Since I'm getting very close to that limit, this summer would be my only opportunity to take classes at the community college. It was important to me that I take the classes here because I commute to school and the drive is much shorter. If you're not a commuter, community college is still a great option because it's cheaper, you can still live at home without having to find an apartment like you would for your university, and there's a pretty good chance that the courses won't be as difficult. Transfer credits from a community college are a great opportunity that you should look into!
  5. Boost your GPA (or not). In my personal opinion, one of the best things about taking classes at my community college is that my grade will not actually transfer. These classes will only be transferred credit hours and will not affect my GPA. So even though the classes aren't difficult, I'm not stressing at all about what my grade will be because it's not super important that it's an A or an A+. Anything above a C is going to transfer exactly the same. Knowing this just takes some of the pressure off. BUT if you're taking your summer classes at your university, this is a great chance to boost your GPA! As we've discussed, you have more time to focus and a better opportunity to get help. Use this to your advantage and get that A+ for a slightly higher GPA that your future self will thank you for.

I hope my tips are slightly helpful or I've at least encouraged you to consider summer classes. The experience is different for everyone, especially because we all have very different types of classes that we're trying to get out of the way. 

If you have any more questions about summer classes or college in general, feel free to email me and I'll try my best to help! :)