A few weeks ago while we were on home leave, Miss DrumBum told us that she wanted to take a couple of classes over the summer. It wasn’t a matter of repeating a class she got poor marks in, but rather, a desire to get a core class out of the way. Adding to our surprise was that the class was not a required elective but instead, Biochemistry and a lab. She knew several other classmates talking classes as well so with equal parts pride and astonishment, we wrote a couple of checks and bid her goodbye.
When I was an undergrad ( mid 80’s ) we went home, gave mom a pile of dirty clothes, and hit the road. Some got jobs or went on a family trip but I don’t recall any of my friends taking classes over the summer. According to Miss DrumBum, occupying ones summer in this manner is quite common amongst her circle of friends since they can finish their degrees early and save the parents money.
So count me as quite surprised that our daughter and her friends are not like her slacker dad.
My parents took classes over the summer and so did I. Slacking off over the summer was completely unacceptable, and none of us were in a position where we needed to work full time. At the university I went to, I could get three credit hours out of the way during the short May semester and 6-9 more during the regular summer session. Campus had a fun relaxed vibe, I liked it.
Mine aren’t college age, but I took courses in the summer most summers - and when I went back as an adult for a different degree, went year rounds to finish quickly.
Because college is now a five or six year deal for a lot of students, summer courses make a lot of sense for those that are serious.
I took a full load every semester including summers, graduated early and then hit the road.
And I’ve come back to second the “fun relaxed vibe” - summer session courses were usually a little easier than the regular term counterparts.
My sister (who earned scholarships and grants) finished her bachelors in three years by taking summer classes and overloading a semester or two. She’s very driven. I suspect she found campus life more relaxing than a summer at home would’ve been.
I took summer courses when I was young, and I am taking summer courses now that I am back at school. I liked Summer School. I mean, I took two courses, and normally I take three, but that’s two courses that’s out of the way. And when I was much younger, it was an excuse to get out of the house and do something productive.
I like(d) school a lot, so that helps.
Yea, my scholarships paid for my summer courses. I finished early and with two minors on top of my major. I took some of the required classes (biology one year, physics the next), along with some writing courses and research. I graduated in 3 years. Of course, then I stayed around 9 more years for further studies, but I did my bachelor’s in 3.
The campus had a more relaxed vibe, and I could do more and get more experience that way than if I’d go back home trapped in my parents’ house.
I don’t have any evidence but my advisor said that in the last 10 years, the number of undergraduates doublemajoring and spending at least a semester abroad has grown enormously. Give them a year, maybe a year and a half to figure out exactly what they want to major in and you could be in a serious bind in regards to finishing in four years if you don’t do summer classes.
Exactly this. Everything is a lot more relaxed.
Ah, I remember, also, some schools may have a requirement to take summer classes. It doesn’t have to be on the main campus, and it doesn’t have to be a required course, but some university systems want them to take some credits over summer. IIRC, when I was an undergrad at Florida, it was 6 credits out of the 100-plus required.
Well, I don’t have kids, but I was at university less than 20 years ago, (gah!) and I took summer term courses two of the three terms between my four ‘regular years’.
The first time, I was trying desperately to catch-up on my major; when I came in to register for my freshman classes, every classroom offering ‘Comp Sci 101-102 for Comp Sci majors’ was full up, and I got talked into taking the Intro to Computer Sciences for non-majors courses instead of auditing the majors classes and trying to grab a spot when people dropped out in the first few weeks. So over the first summer, I took Comp Sci 101 for majors, and also some accelerated Calculus summer school classes to get the Calculus requirements out of the way. (Two three-hour Calculus evening lectures a week, so that a full term of Calculus got crammed into seven weeks or whatever.)
The second summer I was at Uni, there’d been a professor’s strike starting in the spring, and I’m not sure if they were even offering summer term courses. We came back to sit exams in the summer once the new contract was signed.
Third summer, I found some interesting elective courses that were being offered over the internet, so I moved back to Hamilton to live in my parent’s basement, and learned ‘creative writing’ and intro to business on a Win95 Packard Bell with a dial-up connection. When the summer started, the family was on an AOL Canada 50-hour a month plan, but because my lectures were RealMedia streaming, I had to be online while listening to them. So I convinced my parents to get an unlimited dial-up internet plan, (Sprint Canada?) and they downgraded the AOL Canada before realizing that it was completely useless and cancelling it.
It’s been a few years, but I enjoyed doing summer classes in undergrad and grad school. At least for me, the condensed class style worked well because I’d rather focus on one or two classes as a faster pace than three to six classes at the same time at a slower pace. We had the same amount of time in lecture, but generally a full semester course was packed in six weeks, so we often had either more straightforward projects or had them as teams, which made them more interesting to work on.
As for how it affects course load and graduation, there’s a couple different ways that it could work as well. For undergrad, generally 15 credits in a semester will get one through in 4 years, so also taking 2 courses each summer gets you out one semester early and taking 3 with another tough semester or two somewhere gets you out a year early. Or, instead, one can maintain the same 4-year pace, but take fewer credits in the spring and fall and take some in the summer to prevent getting overwhelmed in those semesters and maintain a steady load all year. Doing that means one ought to be able to do a bit better academically in spring and fall classes and avoid the shock of going an extended time without classes.
Either way, I would much rather stay busy through the year at a fairly steady pace than have a large break each summer. If I need time off, there’s still usually 2-3 weeks between fall and spring and even with summer classes usually a few weeks somewhere in there to do something. Still, it can be overdone, I took a full load of summer classes all through undergrad and grad school, all while working full time, and burned myself out, but that’s not so much taking summer classes or doing school full time as it was doing that in combination with too much other stuff as well. I think if all one is doing is school, there’s little reason not to.
I did summer classes and graduated early, including taking Intensive Greek one summer, which was a really fun way to learn a language.
I did take summer university courses (electives, in my case.) In fact, my very last university course ever was a summer course. I remember taking the final exam on a sunny day, and walking all over town afterwards, confident that I’d done really well on the exam and that my university career was now over.
Among my set (meaning, just a bit more than 20 years ago) Summer classes were a popular way to push through a particularly difficult class that one had been dreading. Summer classes were generally of shorter duration, less competitive, and afforded more personal time with the instructor.
But, hey, much more importantly, Congratulations on that 4.5 in Parenting. Sounds
Like you’re ABT!
My university was on the quarter system, so summer was just as important as any other quarter.
I usually took “easier” classes - knowing I was going to be out and about during the summer - but it was great. Fewer students, so you could really get special attention and the dorms were half full and the dining halls were a snap to get in and out and all in all - a great experience.
I would normally take the crap, hard classes in winter - I figured I would be stuck in my room most of the time anyway, might as well take the harder courses and study while it was snowy and cold and windy and rainy outside.
Two days after I graduated, I went to Europe for the first time - so I did make up for those “lost summers” of travel and fun while I was at the university.
Interesting and enlightening comments from everyone. Reading these and thinking things through, I realize that her choice was a good one. There would be little to do if she came here except sit on the beach. She has her horse at a nearby stable, as well as some other friends taking summer classes and she really enjoys the school and her major. I had not considered the study abroad option, given that she has already seen and studied in more countries than most of her classmates, but she may sign up for it when she is eligible next year.
My daughter has taken summer courses for the last 2 years in order to allow her all the required courses for her desired minor and still graduate in 4 years.
Summer courses are actually harder for her because it’s the same curriculum but the schedule is condensed and she has less time to complete each assignment. There is also a lot of delay in getting feedback because the professors are suffering from the same issue multiplied by x number of students.
She’s in her last year now so no more summer courses.
Summer courses can be great for the reasons people have already mentioned – more casual campus atmosphere, more time with the professor, can help with graduating early.
Just something to throw out there. I work at a college that offers a fairly robust schedule of summer courses. A lot of students take summer classes, with the stated intention of getting more credits in order to graduate early, thus saving money. However, many of these students haven’t thought their plan through very well – they might take classes, but if they are taking classes that don’t satisfy major or minor requirements, or leave off advanced level classes that are only offered in certain semesters during the school year, they end up needing to be enrolled for all eight traditional semesters anyway. This can also happen if they switch majors, even if they planned well at the time.
So yeah, if the goal is graduating early/saving money, make sure the student is working with an adviser to figure out the long-term plan. I suspect some students pitch the summer classes to their parents as a money-saver even when they know that’s not going to be realistic in terms of graduation.