By Katie Azevedo, M.Ed.
There are many reasons why students might take summer classes in college: to graduate early, to make space for a double major, to retake courses that didn’t go so well, for personal enrichment … the list goes on.
Taking college summer classes doesn’t have to be awful. It’s definitely a different vibe, and it can be a good one if you make it that way with the following tips.
4 tips for taking summer classes in college
1. Organize your time.
Think of your time on two different levels:
- Class time: the hours and days you’re sitting in class, plus commute time on both ends
- Study time: how much time outside of class spent on reading, studying, and doing assignments
Don’t underestimate the amount of study / homework time required for summer courses. For tips, read this: How to plan time to study.
You’ll have to figure out your own optimal schedule based on your own calendar and commitments, but regardless of when you study, it should be consistent and uninterrupted.
2. Show up on time.
Showing up on time for your summer courses is literally the least you can do. Consider commute times and traffic patterns, and then get there. If you need to leave class early (do this sparingly), email your teacher ahead of time and slip out quietly.
3. Think carefully about your study space.
If you’re taking summer classes as a college student, you might be out of the dorms and living at home for June, July and August. If so, set up your room (or a spot in the house) where you can focus without distractions. I also suggest setting up your workspace according to your learning preferences. Resources are listed below:
- Study space ideas for visual learners
- Study space ideas for auditory learners
- Study space ideas for kinesthetic learners
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An alternative to doing your summer work at home is to spice things up by finding a new location to study: a local public library, the school library, a cafe, a bookstore … or any of these study space ideas.
4. Read first, review later.
Summer classes are notorious for their abundant readings. This tip ties into Tip #1 because it’s important to consider how long it takes outside of class to read your assignments.
A good strategy is to do your class readings as soon as possible after your class is over – ideally that same day, but at least in the next 1-2 days. Then, before your next class, do a quick 10-minute review (skim) of your readings or the notes you took on them.
Of course, this strategy works best for summer classes that are once or twice a week. If you’re taking a college summer course that runs daily, you won’t have time to read and review.
Are you a high school student with summer reading assignments? You want to use these strategies here.
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