The spring term is almost over and summer break is fast approaching. Many college students are excited for their vacation from school and are already having thoughts of sand between their toes.
For others, though, summer means more school work.
Although this might sound absolutely dreadful to some, summer classes are a great opportunity for college students like Alexander Carpenter, freshmen in industrial engineering, who is minoring in computer science, leadership and mathematics.
“Summer classes allow me to take classes towards my minors,” Carpenter said. “Since my major requires many credits, taking summer classes lessens my class load during the school year.”
As with most things in life, however, there are pros and cons to summer classes.
Pros: short terms, smaller classes
Summer intersession courses have shortened terms because summer is only a few months long. The length of classes vary from three to eight weeks, depending on the college and professor. This allows students to get done with a class at an accelerated pace.
Summer classes can help students catch up on graduation requirements if they have changed their major, are behind on course work, or need to retake a class. If students are on track with course work but are looking to get ahead of the game, summer classes are also a great chance to achieve that. Taking summer classes can even simply lighten the course work during the fall and spring terms.
In addition, the number of people in summer classes is significantly lower due to smaller class sizes. This gives students a chance to receive more interaction with the professor.
Taking summer classes also allows students to continue their learning without a long break in between course work. Enrolling in the summer intersession helps students keep their studying skills sharp and motivates them to attend scheduled classes.
Cons: fast pace, financial drain
Shortened class periods, though, don’t allow the students any room for falling behind, because a semester’s worth of work is crammed into just a few weeks. If you fall behind, you may or may not be able to catch up on the course work. In some cases, the summer classes don’t cover all of the material.
Summer financial aid usually does not cover the cost of summer classes. Even though summer classes may be cheaper, financial aid does not give as much money out for the summer. In some cases, summer classes cost more than those offered in the fall or spring terms.
Taking summer classes gives students no break from their academic responsibilities. Students who are in need of a vacation or don’t need the summer classes should probably consider avoiding them at all costs.
If students normally work during the summer to provide more income to cover the costs of textbooks, materials and the rest of the things needed for college, they may want to give summer classes a hard pass. Taking summer classes makes it harder for to find a job because your availability may not be what employees are looking for.
Venturing off campus
During the summer, students have the choice of taking courses through K-State or a different college. There are many valid reasons for doing this. Colin Gardner, freshman in architecture, said he is planning on taking summer classes at Johnson County Community College because it’s both close to his home and cheaper than K-State.
Before taking summer classes at another college, the student is responsible for finding out if the credits they will receive can be transferred to K-State. Though many colleges are able to transfer the credits over, some can’t. If a student ends up paying for a class that they can’t transfer over to K-State, then that would just be a waste of time and money.
Students can check to see if a class will transfer on K-State’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions transfer equivalency webpage. Or you can completely avoid this step and just take classes through K-State.
“I am taking my classes through K-State, because it’s more convenient,” Carpenter said. “I also don’t have to mess with the paperwork required to transfer the credits in.”
In addition to summer courses, many colleges also offer programs exclusive to the intersession.
Marlene Mendez, freshman in animal sciences and industry, will be traveling home to Riverside, California to participate in a volunteer summer program for international students through University of California, Riverside. She will be a peer mentor with international students.
“I will be there to be their friend,” Mendez said. “I will also help them learn English, do activities together, learn about Native American cultures and urban art.”
Mendez said she’s very excited to start the program in May as soon as she is back home. According to Mendez, the program runs from late May to early August.
Taking some summer classes is an open opportunity if a student is looking into catching up on classes or wanting to get ahead of the game.