Pros and Cons of Summer Classes

on March 31, 2017

In college, there’s an advantage to taking a few summer classes to lighten your course load.


Most colleges offer summer classes in two sessions. They run from May to June and from July to August. Although class offerings aren’t as big as they are during the traditional school year, many colleges offer dozens of classes on campus or online.


Here are some things to consider.


The Pros

  • Summer classes are a good way to graduate on time, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. Only 19 percent of students at four-year, nonflagship colleges and 36 percent of students at flagship or high-research universities graduate within four years, according to research from Complete College America. The extra time spent living on campus will cost you more, as will getting a late start in your career.
  • If you know you’ll have to take a particularly difficult or demanding class, there’s always the option to take it in the summer either with no other classes or with a lighter class load. Be warned, though, the summer semesters are shorter than the fall and spring, meaning you will have less time to learn the same amount of material.
  • If you do take summer classes, you might be able to have a lighter load in the fall or spring semesters, which could help if you will have a number of obligations besides classwork.

The Cons

  • Internships can be key to landing a job upon graduation, so if the work you’re doing needs your full time and attention, summer classes might not be for you.
  • Financial aid, such as Pell Grants, can run out by the end of the spring semester. If you are planning to take summer classes, make sure to check your aid first.
  • Although summer can be a good time to catch up or get ahead, for some students it is a much-needed break to the hectic pace of college. If you feel you need a few months to relax or tackle some personal projects, consider taking a single class or taking classes in only one summer session.

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