Summer, my favorite time of year. Not because of the weather (yay, swimming!) or the fashion (yay, things that aren’t sweaters!) though those things are great – I love summer for the same reason that pretty much every other kid who went to school in America does; no class! But, even though the sixth grader inside my head chafes at the idea, summer classes are becoming more and more common, so the question is, are they worth it?
Alright, the pros of summer classes (words I never thought I would write). One perk of taking summer classes is that you’re getting your credits but you can mix up the usual class experience – you can take classes at an affiliated college or do a program in another city or country (hot foreign boys). Plus you don’t have all of the distractions that come with the rest of the school year (football games, school newspaper, frat row parties…). Getting some classes done over the summer also means more credits you don’t have to take later, so maybe cutting down your college career (and the amount of time you’re footing those tuition bills). Summer classes also usually take about half the time that classes do during the school year (how does that work??) and a lot of the time you can catch a break on the price with special summer scholarships and financial aid.
So yeah, maybe taking summer classes isn’t such a bad idea… or is it?
Taking summer classes isn’t all bright and sunny (like the weather you’ll be missing indoors); there are cons too. Aside from the whole “you have the next 40 years of your life to work so why not enjoy a little freedom while you have it” argument *cough cough* there are also some practical considerations. For one thing, if you live in campus housing or go take classes somewhere out of town, you have nowhere to live. Most of the time you can find a limited-time rental to stay in, but it means forking over extra cash. Also, while you won’t be distracted by all of the cool stuff going on during the school year, do you really think you’re going to be less distracted by missing out on the awesome BFFs roadtrip or those vacation pictures that just haunt your Facebook feed?
Not to mention that social interaction is supposed to be part of the college experience, instead you’ll be there with a bunch of people like you who are just holding thier breath until class is over and they can escape – forget bonding! On the purely academic front, the shorter number of class days means longer classes most of the time and may also make it harder for you to absorb the subject and get all of the homework done. To save money, most schools also cut down on the hours things like libraries and camputer labs are open which could make life hard if you’re working on, say, a research heavy class (or have three homework-less roommates).