Summer courses offer more flexibility, focus

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With hundreds of K-State students currently enrolled in summer courses, it is clear that many have found light reading to be a nice compliment to fun in the sun. Whether they’re juggling a handful of majors or are on the fast-track to getting across the stage, a summer course load is a must-have for many students across the country.

Picking up a summer course opens the door to more options when arranging schedules and degree tracks. It can free students up to explore different sections of courses that are offered only in specific terms and gives them more flexibility with professors and delivery options for each section. For some courses, an online platform is the answer, while others call for a favorite professor to maximize an in-class experience. The extra hours can help set the best schedule for an individual student’s time and learning.

During a given semester, there are countless opportunities and obligations in the life of an average student. Fall or spring, students are busy people. With jobs, internships, student organizations and other engagement opportunities, a day in the life of a college student can be hectic, and that’s without mentioning any attempt at a social life that comes highly recommended during this stage of life. With all this commotion, some classes can fall through the cracks. While many students work or intern during the summer, there are far fewer campus commitments that can often detract from classroom performance.

The summer session is also much shorter than fall or spring, which requires a more condensed format for the content. Many of the on-campus sections meet Monday through Friday, which limits the time between lectures, readings, homework and tests. This allows students to focus their efforts on a particular class rather than being spread paper-thin in the balancing act that is formal education. These classes are also typically composed of fewer students, which allows for more interaction between classmates and instructors and, as a result, more individualized help. Given their concise nature and increased support, more challenging courses and concepts may even be easier to grasp.

The question of academic rigor in summer courses is hard to measure given this format. Students are often assigned less work overall, but this means each assignment carries more weight and, therefore, a smaller margin for error. If deadlines are missed during the summer, it is easy to fall behind and performance may suffer.

Many summer classes come at a higher cost to students, but the combination of flexibility and focus makes summer classes a worthwhile option to help navigate the complexities of scheduling courses. The minimum credit hour threshold to receive financial aid is also lower during the summer, so students should qualify for the same payment options they have during the regular terms.

Overall, summer classes provide a different set of challenges, but many students find them a better fit for certain courses. When there are more options, students win.

Theo Stavropoulos is a recent graduate in Human Resource Management and political science.

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