Why You Want to Take Online Summer Courses: Advice from Associate Dean Dr. Michelle Caron of Southern New Hampshire University
5 minute read
Whether you are a high school student or recent graduate looking to get a head start as an incoming college freshman, earn your degree faster, get a leg up on the competition for a promotion, or save money, online summer classes are the way to go. You can make the most of your free time by taking advantage of this pathway to progress and potential this summer.
What are the Benefits of Taking Online Summer Classes?
There are many benefits of summer coursework that don’t require you to abandon the sun, the sand, or your flip-flops.
1. Get ahead of the game by accelerating earning your degree
Summer online classes can truly accelerate your degree completion and take the pressure off when you have a lot of personal and professional commitments. You can study on your schedule throughout the week and lighten your course load for fall and spring semesters. Online courses are also asynchronous, meaning there are no set class times and you can access your work and discussion boards 24/7.
2. Smooth the transition from high school to college-level learning
Online summer courses can help you achieve academic excellence and provide a smooth transition to acclimate to what college-level learning is like.
You aren’t just handed a bunch of things to read and write about. You begin to form connections, build on prior knowledge, and expand your curiosity that makes you think more deeply about how what you’re learning relates to and shapes your personal goals and career trajectory.
3. Classes are shorter and less expensive
Many online schools have shorter terms than traditional campus programs. A 3-credit course can be completed in just 8 weeks. Taking your class online during summer break gets you on the fast track to graduation and saves you money.
4. Stay sharp and conquer challenging topics
Have to take a course that you know will be challenging? Focusing on that subject without the burden of additional coursework may prove quite helpful. You’ll also have an advisor who has been in your shoes and who will follow you throughout your academic journey. They have strategies and tips to help you bounce back from any setbacks you may have, help you access academic support tools, and overcome challenges to catch up or get ahead, all customized to you.
5. Meet new peers and potential mentors
Sharing different perspectives and developing innovative solutions in a classroom without borders draws upon and embraces cultural diversity and promotes inclusivity. A good example of this is online discussions, where you interact with your peers and instructor on a particular topic. Some courses even offer opportunities to work in small groups. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from your classmates who come from all walks of life and even find a mentor to help guide your journey to what “success” means to you.
6. Discover new career prospects
Summer courses can also be a way to explore new interests, or even test whether a particular degree program is right for you. Program descriptions provide helpful insights as to what you will learn and the industry career outlook, such as predicted job growth and salary ranges. It also shows potential employers that you are taking the initiative to potential employers and you are highly motivated.
How Effective Are Online Classes?
Online learning is quite effective because you learn from instructors who share extensive industry experience that truly brings the class to life for students. This also ensures you are learning the right industry-specific workplace skills.
Your learning is scaffolded like a ladder so assignments build on themselves. For instance, final projects have milestones that allow you to receive feedback from your instructor on your progress. Then you can address and incorporate instructor feedback to improve your final project before you submit it for grading.
Online learning platforms also allow you to have a written record of the entire class from start to finish, every resource, discussion post and assignment feedback to mention a few. These are great to look back on to support related future courses, especially those with pre-requisites.
Can Taking Summer Classes Help You Graduate Faster?
Summer courses can get your diploma in your hands faster. By foregoing the break that most traditional students take, you can continue earning credits, minimizing the time it takes to finish your degree.
You can take control of your schedule and ensure you have a manageable workload and flexible schedule of what to take and when, in order to balance your other commitments. There can be a lot of distractions in the summer months.
An important first step is to ensure your university will accept the transfer credits from your summer course. Once you have the confirmation, build a schedule. If the course(s) can transfer into your full-time program, this will keep more money in your wallet.
Structured research programs are another way high school students can earn college credit. With planning and strong time management skills, it’s possible for ambitious students to take online summer courses and also participate in a research program. Spend time exploring summer research programs and online summer classes you are interested in to help you choose the perfect summer learning experience for you.
Waves of Opportunity Await
Taking advantage of summer online classes and learning opportunities has a multitude of highly valuable benefits. Whether online or in the classroom, you get out of your education what you put into it. Decide to put something into it this summer.
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