Three White women and one White man doing homework on picnic table in summer

5 Tips for Summer Courses to Avoid Ruining Your Break

Summer courses may not sound like the most enticing idea, but with these tips, you can get ahead of your education while still having a fantastic summer break.

Picture this: It’s the Friday before summer break begins. You’re ready to soak up some sun, get back to the hobbies you’ve neglected, and maybe see a few friends. For the first time since August, you can kick back and relax… at least until Monday, when your summer course begins. Lucky you! If you’ve made the choice to take a summer course, that’s great! And don’t worry—your summer is far from ruined. In fact, continuing to learn over summer break will keep your mind fresh and ready for the next school year. In other words, while your classmates will spend the first week back trying to remember how to use a pencil, you’ll already be in the swing of things. However, that doesn’t mean you have to let summer school dictate your life for the next 10 weeks. Here are some tips for how to succeed in your courses and still have a great summer break, because you deserve it!

1. Plan, plan, plan

First off: dig your planner out of the garbage—you’re not done with it quite yet! If you’re taking a college course over the summer as a high school student, you’ll have to get used to knowing when your assignments are due instead of counting on your teachers to tell you. The syllabus is your friend, so make sure to print it out and write the due dates for all your assignments in your planner or calendar. (If you’re a college student, you already know this routine.) Use the Reminders app on your phone or try Google Calendar to notify you when your work is due—and make sure to give yourself enough time to actually complete each assignment. In other words, know how long it takes you to write a paper, do a problem set, etc., and plan accordingly. If you can’t write a paper in one day during the school year, chances are you won’t be able to do it over the summer either. 

Related: Video: How to Become a Planner

2. Dont slack off 

Over summer break, you likely won’t feel the same pressure to pull all-nighters or work on assignments until your brain becomes overloaded like you do during the school year—but you still have work to do! Know your limits, and make sure to give yourself time for fun and relaxation, but keep in mind you’re still technically doing schoolwork even if it’s summer. If you find yourself having trouble focusing on studying, switch to a new technique. Maybe flashcards, Quizlet, or even Crash Course videos will do the trick that regular studying doesn’t. Even if you flip through a flashcard set while brushing your teeth, you’ll still be keeping your brain active and engaging with the course material.

3. Take breaks

While this tip may be a little more difficult during the school year, the summer offers a great opportunity to do all the fun things you’ve been putting off for the past nine months. Take time to hang out with your friends, go on vacation, or see a concert. Schedule your work time for perhaps an hour or two in the morning; this way, you’ll have something to look forward to rather than dread doing schoolwork for hours every day.   If you do put in more than a couple hours of classwork each day, don’t forget to also schedule times to take breaks while you’re studying. Every 30 minutes, take a five-minute break—or whatever interval works best for you! Watch a YouTube video, listen to a podcast, or just relax. Just remember not to overload your brain with too much information at one time. Let the material resonate with you; don’t try to force it. 

Related: Students: Don’t Feel Bad for Being Distracted at Home

4. Reward yourself

Did you ace your last test or get an A+ on a paper? In the wise words of Donna Meagle from Parks and Recreation: treat yo’ self! You’re taking a class over summer break, and that’s an amazing feat and show of determination in itself. Reward yourself with a day off, lunch with friends, or a night out. Don’t neglect your studies, but also remember to celebrate your successes. 

5. Don’t mix work and play

I hate to break it to you, but this is one situation where you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Make sure to separate your work from fun, but leave yourself enough time for both when possible. If you have a paper due on the same day you plan to see a movie with your friends, it’s probably best to prioritize your work and make up for the time lost later. You can’t be in two places at once, so don’t try to cram schoolwork and a night out with friends into the same day if there’s too much to get done.

Related: Top Tips on Becoming a Well-Rounded Student

These tips will help you crush it at your summer course while also having fun over your break—it just takes a little planning and organization. And remember to wow your friends with your newfound knowledge when you return to school in the fall. Best of luck with your summer courses!

Need more advice on managing your time and balancing your schedule during the summer or the school year? Check out our Student Life section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Emily Sandberg

Emily Sandberg is a high school senior from Raleigh, North Carolina. She enjoys binge-watching sitcoms, hanging out with her three dogs, and attempting to play guitar. She plans to major in Public Health in college with the goal of becoming a researcher.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Jasmine

Jasmine

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me find the school I am currently attending by consistently sending me emails of other schools. This allowed me to do research on other schools as well as the one I am in now!

Abhishek Kumar

Abhishek Kumar

High School Class of 2022

As a high schooler, I know how hard it is to plan for college. You have to consider a lot of factors: SAT/ACT scores, college searches, scholarships, and more. CollegeXpress has been a helpful resource that solves all these problems. One can easily create a free account and search away. They help you search for scholarships and colleges, they have graduate program search, they have lists and rankings, and so much more. CX also has a lot of articles and advice to read—whether it’s financial aid, test prep, campus visits, internships/careers, or anything. Not only that, CX gives out free scholarship money to students who sign up and create a free CX account. I love CX and will continue to use it! Thank you CollegeXpress for making my college journey easier!

Sonny Harris

Sonny Harris

College Student

For the entire year before college, I spent a lot of time deeply considering what major I wanted to go into and how to fund my higher education. After a lot of research, I came across CollegeXpress, which helped me ultimately find a ton of scholarships for which I could apply—and some of which I received! If it weren’t for CollegeXpress, I may not have found those scholarships as they didn't appear on any other scholarship search forum. Additionally, I learned more about the options I had been considering for my major through CollegeXpress’s resources. In the end, I chose to major in Computer Science, as it seemed best suited to me and the careers in the field seemed enjoyable, and I've never been more excited to move into my future! Ultimately, I want to thank CollegeXpress for offering their services. I received enough financial aid in scholarships to fund my entire freshman year of college and even got some money refunded which I used to purchase a new laptop, and I bought all of the books I needed for the semester!

Keydi Banegas

Keydi Banegas

Scholarship for Students of Color Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress is a great application that helped me search for many different scholarships, and it narrows the scholarships depending on how you set your profile. Not only that, but it helps you choose different colleges to apply to by finding matches through the description of your profile. It was the best experience for me.

Joycelyn

Joycelyn

High School Class of 2023

I’m currently a college freshman attending Towson University. My major is Information Technology, and I plan to minor in Electronic Media & Film to achieve my goal of becoming a production engineer. Upon graduating high school earlier this year, I was awarded a $5,000 scholarship from CollegeXpress, which greatly assisted in paying my tuition. Truthfully, this financial reward was the difference in affording my room and board and tuition, along with other expenses for school. My family and I haven’t stopped celebrating my award since it was bestowed on me. I will never forget this opportunity for allowing me to get my foot into my university financially.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Bishop's University

Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

Marymount University

Arlington, VA

Miami University

Oxford, OH

University of Idaho

Moscow, ID