The Truth About Summer Classes

As most of you know by now, I love to talk about my nerd life. I’ve talked all about my majors (yes, I meant to put an ‘s’ there – I have three), my minor, and my paralegal certificate program in previous posts, so I won’t bore you with that today. If you have read those posts, then you know that in order to graduate on time, I have to take winter and summer term classes. Because a lot of people ask me about them, I’ve decided to answer all of their questions here!

In class or online? I would definitely recommend taking them online. I’ve always done this, because it doesn’t make sense for me to drive an hour to school for class during the winter or summer. Also, if you take off-term classes in person, the class periods are about four hours long roughly three or four days per week, and no one wants to sit through that. Online classes tend to have less assignments due, and are run for shorter periods of time.

Are they hard? This depends on the type of class you’re taking and how good you are at that subject, just like a regular class you would take in person during regular school semesters. For me, the easiest classes to take online were Philosophy classes, because our only assignments were usually reading text and responding in the form of a short paper. The hardest class I’ve taken online was Statistics, because I wasn’t motivated to learn it at all, and there were a lot of tests that were planned for a certain time (for example, ‘must be done between 9:00-11:00AM’ rather than ‘due before any time midnight’), which was stressful.

Should I take one? If you need extra time during the regular semester to take your major classes, then yes. If there is a class that you’re nervous about taking in person because of the grade you might receive, then taking it online might be an easier alternative for you – they aren’t normally as strict as in-person semester classes. However, if I didn’t need to take a class during the winter or the summer to graduate, I probably wouldn’t have, because they can get expensive.

How much do they cost? At my school, off-term classes cost $650 per credit.

Why do you like them better than in-person classes? As I mentioned before, online courses are much less strict than classes taken in person. Class participation is measured by discussion board posts (if its even measured at all), and all of the homework/assignments are normally posted right at the beginning of the class, so you can pass it in at your leisure (it is rare for online classes to have strict due dates). Oftentimes, these classes are shorter than normal ones; six to ten week periods rather than fifteen to sixteen weeks. Because I work in an office setting with a lot of downtime during the summer, I am able to get the majority of my homework done at work – so by taking these classes online, I’m not only saving myself the hassle of taking them during the school year, but also using them as a way to get rid of some of my boredom at the office.

How do I know if I’m going to get lucky with easy online classes like you did? First, check how long the class is listed to go on for. If its a short amount of time (for example, my Computer Science class this summer is only six weeks long), then it is likely that it won’t be too difficult. Also, I’ve taken a lot of online classes with professors I have had class with in person, so I was familiar with their teaching style already. Don’t take a class that sounds too hard to be able to teach yourself the material on your own, though! That was my mistake with Statistics. If you think the subject will be something you would need extra help with, wait to take it until the regular semester.

How many summer/winter classes have you taken? I have taken seven: Everyday Statistics, Eastern Philosophy, Intro to Psychology, Computer Science, Philosophy of Religion, Deviance, and Intro to Literature! I think that I’m all set now, and this summer will be my last summer taking them. Although, one of my Paralegal classes begins during winter term this upcoming year, but that one will be in person on Saturdays (sad).

Is there another way to earn extra credits besides taking winter or summer classes? Yes! One option is to take online courses during the school year. My school offers a lot of half-semester online courses that aren’t too strenuous. Another option (and in my opinion, the best option) is to see if your school has any short-term study abroad programs that offer participation for credits! I have done two of these through my school: a one-credit gen ed program in London the summer after my freshman year, and a three-credit gen ed program in Italy and France during spring break my sophomore year. If your school doesn’t offer these types of programs, you can still find them through other schools! Last summer, I went to Greece with an EF Tours program (my favorite vacation so far), which is paired with the University of Wisconsin for gen ed credits like Art and History. Though I didn’t pursue these  extra credits from my Greece trip, it would have been an easy way to earn them – all you had to do was write an essay.


I hope this post was helpful! If you have any other questions about school, I’m your girl – let me know what you would want to read! Thanks for stopping by my blog, XO


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