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Why You Should Consider a Summer Semester

summer planning summer plans summer programs Nov 14, 2022

Attending college and figuring out your best educational path can be a real challenge. If you're like most traditional college students - prospective or current - you are likely planning to pack in all your classes between the fall and spring semesters, following the typical four-year graduation plan. There's nothing wrong with that, but did you know that if you speak to your college advisor, you might be able to push those four years into early graduation?

It's true! While not as common or populated as the fall and spring classes, summer classes can be a godsend to give you a jumpstart on completing your credits. They're an invaluable tool that might be able to give you the leg up you've been looking for.

Summer classes, though? You might have questions about these classes, especially if you're just starting your college career, but that's where we can help. If you're wondering things like when the summer semester start, how long these classes last, how can summer classes help me, and more, then keep reading.


When Do Summer Semesters Usually Start?

When does the summer semester start? Summer classes usually begin in May or June, typically only a week or two after the spring semester's classes end. However, some classes have later start dates and may only be offered during the second half of the summer semester. If you want to take a couple of college classes right out of high school and are worried about your high school graduation date overlapping with the beginning of the summer semester, then one of these classes may be what you're looking for!

In today's world, though, many classes are offered online. This even includes summer classes! If you're unsure about the timing of your classes, are planning to travel, or just don't want to sit in a classroom, then online classes might be for you. Just remember to speak with your college advisor or college admissions counselor before making any final decisions; they'll be able to help point you in the right direction.


How Long Do Summer Classes Last?

How long summer classes last usually depends on the type of class and what the subject matter is. Some summer classes can last the entire semester, but most are generally shorter, more intensive class periods.

Just remember: the shorter the class length, the longer the actual class time. You might be sitting in your lecture hall for a couple of hours a day! Overall, you'll likely spend less time in class, at least for the most part, and it will be over much more quickly.

Because of the varying class lengths and times, taking more than one class during a summer semester is possible. However, you should speak with your college advisor or college admissions counselor before making any decisions.


Why Can Summer Classes Help?

Taking summer classes can make a big difference in your educational career. Planning well can even give you a shot at early graduation, and who doesn't want that? Taking summer classes may help you graduate in three or three and a half years instead of the typical four.

Plus, while they can be intense, summer classes often have lower class sizes and attendance than fall and spring semester classes. Because of this, you'll likely be able to have more one-on-one time with your instructor and can seek help more easily if you need it. Taking more difficult classes in the summer may be a good idea; if you struggle with math, for instance, you'll have more readily available access to your instructor for more specialized instruction if you need a little additional help.

If you're a graduating high school student taking summer classes at the college, you'll figure out more about the campus before the rest of the "freshman frenzy." You'll have time to sit back, take stock of where your classes are, what a good schedule for you feels like, how college classes operate, and more. You will not have the added stress of being around a multitude of new people and being swamped with even more classes.

For current college students, taking summer classes can help you keep your sense of routine during your summer break and can help you chisel away credits without the stress of having to deal with a full semester's worth of classes. You'll be able to focus on only one or two courses at a time instead of four or more, giving you more leeway to get your work done with more free time. Plus, taking summer classes can help lighten your course load during the fall and spring semesters if you aren't planning on early graduation. Talk to your college advisor about what might be best for you!


Should I Start College During the Summer?

Many high school students don't know that you don't have to wait until the fall semester to take classes! Some colleges will allow incoming first-year and transfer students to start the summer before their official "start date." Enrolling in the summer semester could allow you to sign up for classes in the fall as a returning student, which might give you a bit more priority when choosing your classes!


Consider All the Pros and Cons

As with any other major decision, it's always a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of taking summer classes. Other than the benefits already mentioned, there are quite a few more positives to taking summer courses.

First, summer credits may cost less. Because you're likely to be in class for less time than a traditional fall or spring semester class, summer classes tend to be a little less expensive. Also, with fewer students on campus for the summer, the library, parking lots, and more are less likely to be filled, giving you more peace and quiet for studying and more room to park.

However, there are some potential cons to summer classes. Because many professors tend to do research projects over the summer, teaching may not be their top priority. While you may be able to get more specialized instruction, there is also the possibility that your instruction may get lost in the shuffle. Another con is that financial aid may not apply to summer courses: it's something you should confirm with your financial aid before coming to any conclusions.


Still Have Questions?

If you still have questions, that's completely normal. Transitioning into college life is a difficult time, one that's full of more questions than answers. However, if you're looking for a little extra guidance, whether a new college student or a returning one, those of us here at Clark College Consulting would love to ease your fears. We are a college advisor service to help you feel more confident in your college decision-making process.

If you're interested in getting some college advisor help or simply want a professional to help be your sounding board, contact us today.


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