Summer Classes Made Easy

Summer Classes

Like many college students, I’m currently enrolled in a summer class. Adding a summer course is a good way to earn a few extra credits if you are falling behind. If you didn’t do well in a course during the regular semester, consider taking it over the summer. The reduced course-load is perfect for succeeding in any challenging class. However, taking summer classes isn’t always fun. Here are a few tips on how to manage summer classes and still have a great summer.

Online Courses

A variety of classes are available online, especially during the summer semester. Online courses are not for everyone, but they are a great alternative to being stuck inside a classroom during the summer. Online courses offer flexibility. It’s easy to go on vacation because all you need is a few hours and some Wi-Fi to complete the necessary coursework. With many online classes not taking attendance, you can work ahead and then miss a day without having to worry. No more, “Sorry, I have class.” Go out and enjoy the summer! However, don’t let all that freedom corrupt your work ethic. Make sure you submit assignments by the deadlines and participate in online discussion boards with other classmates.

Favorite Teachers

Let’s be honest, everyone has a favorite professor. At the least, they have a professor they’re more fond of compared to others. For an easy way to deal with summer classes, check if that certain professor is teaching any sections you need. As long as it fits within your schedule, take it! By selecting a professor you’re familiar with, you’ll already have an idea of what you’re walking into on the first day. Even better, you’re potentially already on their good side. It is less stressful to have a summer course with a professor you know and like. You may even have a few laughs along the way!

Shorter Term Classes

Many schools offer various course lengths during the summer. Some courses last the entire summer (from June to August), while others are only a few months.  The most intense courses can be as short as five weeks. Instead of being in class all summer, a good alternative is to take one of the shorter, more intense classes. It will be more work, but it only last a few weeks. Then once it’s over, you can have the rest of the summer to do what you please. What’s the greatest part? They’re all worth the same amount of credits, which means it’s a full class even though it’s shortened.

Deciding to take a summer course is never easy. You don’t want it to ruin your summer, but you also want to get ahead on your course load. Before you decide, consider these tips to make taking summer classes a little easier! 

Graduation Feelings

“I just want to get out!”  At some point in college, sometime in your middle years, you may find yourself wishing away the papers, readings, exams and pop-quizzes and want to just be done already.

After this, there will be a fun college moment when you think to yourself, “Nah, this place isn’t half bad.”  If not, bask in the fact that you’re within walking distance to most of your friends, food and entertainment.

Once graduation application paperwork gets underway and you’re near the finish, most students end up thinking about college like a pregnant woman thinks of food.  One day you wish you were back in freshman year.  The next, you have to drive an hour and a half to school to get a signature and go back to thinking, “I just want my diploma already!”

I’ll be blunt: the way some react to these feelings is a little ridiculous.  Here is a list of the top things not to do while anticipating graduation:

-DON’T complain to every friend you have. Feel lucky you will soon be a college graduate (although who am I kidding, that doesn’t mean much anymore…) 

-DON’T brag about the fact you are graduating early or enjoying college for a few extra semesters 

-DON’T try to pretend you’re not nervous about entering the 2013 job market. 

-DON’T continuously talk about the fact you’re graduating. 

-DON’T be that person that is always around campus a year or two after they graduated. 

-DON’T brag about how your B.S. degree is so much better than a B.A. 

College is the prime of your life.  Graduation is a big step, but let’s not get too overdramatic now.  I too cried at the graduation episode of Laguna Beach, but that doesn’t mean we need to obsess months in advance. Savor your last months, prepare for graduation, but don’t talk about it 24/7!

The 411 on Graduating with Honors

If you decide that you would like to apply for your department’s honors program, it almost becomes like applying for college all over again.  You’ve been accepted to the school, chosen or applied for a departmental major, and taken many (or all) of the courses required to complete your degree.  However, if you’re like me and want to give that extra boost to your resume, while simultaneously exploring your area of study in your own way, take these guidelines into account.

Start Early

I came into my university knowing I wanted to major in Creative Writing, and that I wanted to write an Honors thesis my senior year.  However, that’s not the case for everyone.  Some students are double or triple-majors (depending on what your school allows) and might not have decided which program they would like to pursue a thesis in, if any.  Sometimes the programs that accept or reject your thesis proposal end up making the decision for you.

However, once you know you might be considering an honors project in at least one of your majors, you should make an appointment with your adviser and/or other faculty members in that department to discuss the application process.  If there is anything you can do as an underclassman to prepare and increase your chances when you apply, this will give you the ability to do so.  Sometimes departments have students begin their theses prior to senior year, so it’s a good idea to make sure you know when the deadlines to apply are.

Have a Good Idea of Your Project

When you meet with faculty members, show them that you’ve been thinking about possible projects.  This will demonstrate your seriousness in actually taking part in their program.  Most of the time the department’s faculty members are the ones who review all of the applications and make the final decision.  Make sure they know you’re serious.

Once You’re in the Program

 Stay focused.  When you’ve been accepted into one or more honors program, you can only choose one.  Also, while you may get class credit for your project, you might not always be sitting in a physical classroom.  Much of your work and research will be done on your own.  It’s important not to forget that you need to be working consistently on your own time.  This way, the bulk of your work won’t culminate at the end of the year.

Check in with Your Thesis Adviser

 Again, don’t wait until March or April when your defense is only weeks away to really get into the guts of your project.  Your thesis supervisor is your number one resource and you should be checking in with them at a consistent pace throughout the year (and the summer before, if applicable).  If you need assistance or have questions, ask them.

Understand the Possible Outcomes

 Cum Laude – Graduation with Honors

Magna Cum Laude – Graduation with High Honors

Summa Cum Laude – Graduation with Highest Honors

Depending on the institution, maintaining a certain GPA will allow you to graduate with honors as well.  However, sometimes for the higher levels, you must complete and successfully defend your thesis.  If you feel that you can take on the responsibility of completing an honors project, I highly recommend it.  It allows you to experiment with the skills you have attained and the subjects you have studied, taking it all to the next level.  Not to mention, it adds a punch to your graduate school and/or job applications.


 The most important element of pursuing an honors project is that it is something that interests you, and something that you think will be beneficial to you and others in the long run.