From kindergarten through senior year, we all look forward to the summer break for fun, relaxation, vacations, and free time. While leisure time is important, current and prospective college students are missing an opportunity to accelerate their degree program with summer courses.
Enrolling in online summer college courses can improve your college experience, save some money, and expand your knowledge – all without sacrificing your summer fun. Here are the top 9 reasons to consider online summer classes for college credit.
1. Early or On-Schedule Graduation
If your goal is to graduate early, taking pre-college summer online courses is a great way to accelerate your program. Whether you start in high school to get a jump start or take some college courses online in summer alongside your degree program, graduating early lets you get started on your career path.
If you want to graduate on time, summer courses help you knock out courses to reduce your workload throughout the year. Perhaps you had to drop some courses, took time off, or struggled in courses you have to retake. Enrolling in online summer courses helps you get back on track to graduate on your anticipated date.
2. Save Time and Money
Accelerating your graduation may save you some money. Along with tuition fees like room and board, meal plans, or the cost of commuting and parking can add up. The longer you’re in school, the more you’ll pay on top of tuition.
With summer online college courses, you can save a lot on the fees by completing courses at home and at the time that works best for you. If you’re taking online courses outside of your institution, however, be sure to check on your college or university’s transfer policy.
3. Complete Core Courses
General education, or core courses, are mandatory courses in broad fields that meet the requirements of your degree program. Sometimes, these courses can be uninspiring for students focused entirely on their major.
If that’s the case, you can knock out your general education courses or prerequisites in summer programs. You’ll not only get “boring” courses out of the way, but you’ll ensure you have the necessary qualifications to register for key courses with your preferred professor or schedule.
4. Focus on a Specific Subject
No matter how much you excel in academia, you may come up against subject areas that are a little more challenging – it happens to everyone. For example, some people have weaknesses in entire fields of study, such as math, while others may get hung up on a specific course, such as geography or organic chemistry.
If you’re struggling, balancing the challenges of one course on top of your regular course load and life’s responsibilities could feel overwhelming. With a summer course, you can focus only on that one subject to dive deep and devote your full attention, rather than splitting your studies – and mental capacity – across several classes.
5. Avoid the Summer Gap
Having a break in studies is helpful, but it could be counterproductive. The summer gap in learning can disrupt your continuity and get you out of the groove of college-level study. Then, when you return in the fall, you spend valuable time getting reacquainted with the routine.
Taking just one summer course maintains your educational continuity, so you can enter your fall semester primed for learning and retention.
6. Smaller Class Sizes
While this isn’t always the case, some summer courses have lower enrollment than they do during the fall or spring semesters. Working within a small class has many advantages, including more intimate class discussions, more engagement, better contact with your professor, and more individualized attention and support.
In addition, summer courses generally have more availability in the offseason, so you’re more likely to get the courses you want without other students competing for coveted spots. Online courses, in particular, often have more availability without the scheduling restrictions of set on-campus times.
7. Prepare for Graduate School
If you’re planning to attend graduate school, taking summer courses allows you to investigate different areas of study or get a jump on some of the graduate-level classes. For example, a summer course focused on skills related to your degree – or desirable career skills like a second language – can be helpful.
Summer courses are also helpful for students considering entrance exams, such as the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). These tests include a lot of foundational learning, which you can focus on during a summer session.
8. Earn Credentials or a Second Major or Minor
No matter your major, you can bolster your resume and career prospects with additional credentials through a supplemental undergraduate or graduate certificate to complement your degree.
You could also take classes to focus on a second major or minor without extending your anticipated graduation date. This is a great opportunity to see if your new course of study is the right choice before making a big move.
9. Take Interesting Classes
Your electives are a great way to explore topics you’re interested in that aren’t required for your degree. In most cases, you can choose from a range of electives on a broad range of topics, many of which are available for summer courses and offer a lighter and more fun learning experience.
For example, you may enjoy creative writing, photography, and music production as a hobby. Perhaps you have an interest in the origins of humanity or English literature. Maybe courses that strengthen soft skills, such as psychology or communication, would be helpful in your career. Either way, an online summer course gives you the freedom to focus on learning the course material without juggling the demands of other degree-specific courses.
Want to Get a Jump on Learning?
Taking online summer courses is a great way to accelerate your degree program, enhance your learning, and focus your attention on one or two subjects. If you’re interested in online summer courses, we’d love to help you out! Take a look at the partner schools at Sophia Learning or start a free trial to give it a try!