School’s Out for Summer! …Or Not?

Summer school. Two words that, when paired together, seem contradictory. Summer, a season once set aside for catching some Z’s and reading a good book is now paired with homework, exams, and learning. The whole idea of it just doesn’t seem right.

Growing up, the thought of attending summer school was terrifying. It was the ultimate punishment, whether you had failed a class and needed to re-take it, or your parents simply wished that you would “be more productive with your summer months.” But, as you graduate high school and prepare for college, summer school starts to have a new appeal. You may find yourself taking the initiative to sign up for classes at your local community college or online. Don’t be alarmed by this change, as it is a sign of maturity and thoughtful planning. There are many advantages to taking summer classes as you prepare for college (besides just “being productive”).

Why Should You Take a Summer School Class?

  •  Gain some credit hours: Complete a class (or classes) that is mandatory for your major. After three months, you will receive credit that normally takes a semester to achieve (allowing you to take fewer hours or replace the hole in your schedule with an elective course).
  • Save money: Your local community college may offer classes at a lower price than your university. Browse through a college’s website and compare costs. Taking a class in the summer can help you save hundreds of dollars.
  • Keep yourself busy: While you may not be too happy at the thought of spending hours in a classroom or staring at a computer screen, the structure that summer school provides will keep your brain challenged, your schedule busy and your body off the couch.
  • Get personalized attention: Many students decide to take general education requirements (also commonly known as “Gen-Eds”) during the summer. Some classes (like Intro to Economics or Psychology 101) are often a requirement for a large number of students, and thus are housed in giant lecture halls during the school year. If you choose to take one of these classes during the summer, you will most likely get more personalized attention from an instructor and actually get to know and become comfortable with your classmates.

How can I Find out if my Summer School Credit will Transfer to my University?

If you’re taking a summer school class from a different university than you normally attend, the absolute best way to ensure that a credit will transfer is to speak with your academic adviser or contact the two colleges directly. There are also website databases (such as transfer.org) where you can search “Equivalencies by Schools.” Once you select the college that offers your summer school course and match it with your university, you can browse through a list of classes to see if the credit will transfer. Also, it is always best to verify that the credit you earn in summer school will transfer over to your university before you sign up for the class. There’s nothing more disappointing than expending time, money, and effort for a class that will not help you knock out a requirement. If this happens, you’ll need to re-take the class at your school during the academic year.

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Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in News-Editorial Journalism with an interdisciplinary minor in Leadership Studies. Emma enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and snuggling up on the couch with her cat, “Louie.” She also spends her time volunteering and hanging out with family and friends.
Emma Weissmann

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