Summer vacation is upon you—normally a time for fun, friends, and suntans—but you have a decision to make. Do you take the whole summer off, or do you use it to get in some extra class time? Is taking classes over the summer even worth your time? We get it—summer classes are probably the last thing any full-time student wants to do with their time. But there are a few reasons why you should consider summer classes, and we’re going to let you in on them. Find out why it’s a good idea to take at least one class over the summer—and you’ll be signing up before you finish reading.
1. Summer classes bridge the gap between semesters
You know how this works: You’re on top of your game when the spring semester ends, but when you return to school in the fall, you’ve forgotten a thing or two. The information you need to retain and your study habits undoubtedly take a hit during the summer. But if you don’t take an extended break, then you won’t fall out of step. Continuing your courses into the summer ensures you’re keeping up with your study habits—you may even be able to refine them thanks to slightly more intensive classes. An additional class will keep your brain functioning in school mode, and by the time fall semester begins, you won’t have to worry about scrambling to remember what you learned a few months ago because of a long break, which makes it easier to start off your new classes with good grades as well.
Related: How College Students Can Stay Sharp Over Summer Break
2. It’s easier to focus on a class in the summer
A lighter course load of one or two classes during the summer helps you keep a strong focus on what you’re learning. It’s a lot different than the full schedule of classes you normally take during the regular semester, as there’s a much more laid-back vibe to summer classes as a whole. Smaller class sizes also provide more one-on-one time with your peers and professor, so it’ll be easier to work through what you don’t understand and learn to the best of your ability. If you’re not a fan of stretching all your classes across a full semester and prefer learning in a concentrated amount of time, summer classes are definitely for you. These courses are typically more compact while offering you all the same information. You just have to focus yourself to get the most out of it. Working hard means you’ll finish the class in a shorter time than if you took the same one during the regular semester.
3. You can get prerequisites out of the way
Let’s talk about those general education classes everyone has to take. There are always classes students are required to get through before you can take the classes you really want to—the ones that are specific to your major. It may seem tedious, but it’s necessary knowledge you need to possess, so it’s best to just get them over with. Instead of trying to shove all your gen ed classes into a semester already chock-full of learning, leave them for the summertime. You can get through the classes you aren’t necessarily looking forward to faster over the summer. Then you won’t have to worry about overwhelming yourself in the spring or fall when you’re taking courses with more weight behind them. It’s a win-win!
Related: 3 Reasons Why Gen Ed Classes Aren't a Waste of Time
4. You can catch up or get ahead
Summer is the perfect time for some extra learning. It may be tempting to try to fit in as many classes as possible during the school year to get ahead—or maybe you’ve fallen behind from missing or failing a course previously. Why not just shoehorn that class in with the rest during the spring or fall? Because it’s stressful—that’s why! You can avoid overwhelming yourself and designate a class you need to take or retake for the summer. If you’ve started to fall behind, you have an excellent opportunity to catch back up in your own time. The intensive classes packed into fewer weeks will ensure you’re back on track and ready to go come fall.
Taking a summer class is still a good idea even if you don’t need to catch up. Get a leg up on your courses by taking them early. Blow through them in the summer when you can focus solely on those classes. You’re likely to have more individualized help that way as well. As a result, you could potentially graduate a semester or so early and get a jump start on your career—or if you don’t want to rush your college journey, you’ll have extra space in your schedule for electives that could foster extra skills and knowledge for your career later.
5. You’ll learn something totally new
What’s one thing you’d like to learn about if you had more time? You don’t have to miss out on taking a class that piques your interest just because it’s not necessary for your major. And you don’t have to worry about it taking your focus away from the classes that matter to your future. Schedule experimental courses for the summer! It’s much better to sate your desire and learn at a time when it won’t interfere with your regular schedule. Summer break provides plenty of time for you to finally take that photography or foreign language class you’ve been thinking about. Nothing is a waste of your time if it feeds your curiosity and helps you learn something new.
Related: 4 Things to Consider When Choosing Electives in College
It’s easy to spend the entire summer lying around the house or hanging out with friends. You just finished a full semester of classes, and taking more probably doesn’t sound like your definition of fun. But remember, it’s not like a single summer class is going to rule your entire life this summer. You’ll still have time for nights out. You can still work your part-time job. You won’t miss out on anything—but you’ll definitely gain a lot.
Need more ideas on how to be productive and have fun during vacation? Check out our blog on 7 Ways to Have a Productive Summer.