What are two words that instill fear in the minds of students everywhere? Summer school.
I know that when I was growing up just hearing those words sent a cold chill up and down my spine. I would do everything in my power as a youngster to make sure that I did not have to spend any of my precious summer vacation locked up in a classroom. It wasn’t until I started paying tuition and attending college that I saw the benefits of sacrificing a few weeks of my precious summer in the classroom.
Among the benefits of summer school is that you get the same amount of credit in a lot less time– which is the single biggest reason why students decide to delay the start of their summer vacation.
In summer school, you are able to work ahead in the pursuit of your chosen degree by earning a full three credits per class in four week mini-semesters — which is about a quarter of the length of the regular fall and spring semesters here at the University of Idaho. The university breaks up the summer semester into multiple four to six week semesters.
When summer registration first opened during the spring semester I was looking forward to taking a few classes to get ahead in my degree and I was so headstrong about getting ahead I ignored the advice of my counselors. They warned me that taking multiple classes during the same session of summer school isn’t a smart idea.
Any student thinking about taking classes next summer should avoid taking multiple classes during one session. You will feel less stressed out down the stretch. I never imagined that I would have to pull an all-nighter in early June to finish up my last few assignments for summer school, but a few short weeks ago I did. Also, unlike most classes during the school year that only meet two or three times a week, most summer classes meet four or five times a week and the meeting times are typically substantially longer and at times especially when the unpredictable Moscow weather is favorable, can seem to last forever.
Although the classes are substantially shorter, the tuition isn’t substantially cheaper. And unlike the fall and spring semesters financial aid is severely limited. If you chose to take classes over the summer, you have to worry about the online fee as well. Not to mention the cost of textbooks which, much like tuition, is exactly the same as the regular school year. Knowing how expensive textbooks can be, it is understandable why summer school attendance is as low as it is.
Summer school isn’t for everybody, and that is fine.
Many students work hard from August to May and they may be all schooled out by the time finals come around in the spring. If you are worn out, then by all means take a much needed summer vacation. But other students, like me, have found summer school to be a refreshing way to get a few extra credits over the summer, as long as you don’t mind spending a few extra weeks in school-mode.
Joshua Gamez can be reached at email@example.com