College Summer Classes- Too Much?

Updated on June 28, 2010
K.T. asks from Saint Paul, MN
15 answers

I'm going to college and this is my first year. I was hoping to take summer classes, but someone told me that I should only take one class during the summer because they condense the information that would normally be extended over a whole semester into 8 weeks.
I can take one 4-credit class, but I would really like to take another 3-credit class to get it over with. Has anyone attempted to take 7 or more credits during the summer? Is it unrealistic? I've only been taking 8 credits so far and it has been pretty easy, but I have no idea what the summer will be like. Thank you

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So What Happened?

The class I'm going to take for sure is English Composition [4 credits]. The one I was considering adding to that was Health Care Ethics [3 credits]. My son will be in daycare for 3 days a week. I think based on everyone's responses I probably will just take the English class since there will be lots of reading and writing and research. Now the question is, should I take the online version or the in-class version? I'm leaning towards taking it online and just visiting the college in person if I need extra help.
Anyway, thank you all for you input!

Featured Answers



answers from Milwaukee on

I think you can do it. It is intense, but then it's over so quickly. I'd go for it. I know I packed quite a bit into a summer once and it was fine.
Good luck!

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answers from Augusta on

I made the mistake of taking classes strait through my first year of college and got burnt out on school. I would take the summer off, it gives your brain a chance to recharge.

if you MUST take a class, take only one.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I am not sure if you work or not!! Do you have kids?? It all depends on how difficult your classes are! (Ex: Finite, Algebra, Composition, Psychology-these may be considered harder classes because of the amount of studying or amount of time needed for the class) I would take one hard one (maybe) and one easy one! Or, take 2 easy classes!! If you're going to school on grants and want it paid for, you will need to take 2 classes!!



answers from Wausau on

I take online classes in the summer, a couple years ago I took 3 of them and as long as I paced myself and stayed on schedule it was SO NICE! Assinments would come out Mondays. I would post disccusion questions and anwser question and by Wensday I was turning in most of my assinments for the week so I could have weekends as study time or free time. I highly reccomend them!



answers from Los Angeles on

When I went to college, I also did classes all through my breaks. Summer classes aren't as bad as Winter classes and a lot of times they are not at exactly the same time period so it's not that bad. It is a lot of work, but if you don't have to work, it is easily do-able and I say go for it and get it done with. I did and I am really glad I did. I finished my BA in 1 1/2 instead of 2 years and worked part time as well.


answers from Norfolk on

I loved taking classes during the summer. How many to take depends greatly on what the classes are and how difficult they are. I had to get an elective in, and ballroom dancing was easy (no outside class work) while taking a chemistry class (which was not easy). You've got to balance the load. Summer on campus was great. The parking was plentiful and I didn't have to commute through snow all the time (I went to collage in Buffalo, NY).


answers from Davenport on

I agree with everyone here, IF you take more than one, make sure one of them is an easier class. A semester is 18 weeks and summer session is less than half of that at 8 weeks and the teachers do NOT drop anything as far as cover it all.

As for online classes vs. in class learning, it is really up to you but to let you know, often the online teachers do NOT teach at the school you are attending so cannot be reached for help except by e-mail and/or posting questions to the class website (and some are slow to respond, others respond quite quickly). Some of my online teachers were located elsewhere in the state and on occasion, when I posted questions, they had a hard time understanding what I was asking and so kept repeating the instructions over and over as if that would help me to understand what was expected. You are given a time limit for online tests (which I found stressful as I watched the clock count down...this often works out to one-two minutes per question for answering time) and even though you only have the class period for in class tests (1-2 hours), often the teacher will give you extra time if there is no class coming in to use the room afterwards. The nice thing about taking tests online is that you know how well you did right after you took it, maybe not your grade, but how many you answered correctly, etc. In a classroom, you have to wait for the teacher to take it home and grade it but the bonus there is that the teacher will then go over the test with the whole class whereas online, you just take it and move on.

Personally, I prefer attending class, but then I am more of an auditory learner with reading material being a helpful reinforcement to learning. Many of my classmates took online classes and absolutely loved and preferred them so it's really up to you on your learning style and how well you can keep yourself on task and meet deadlines.

For me, it was hard keeping up with online classes and remembering to attend them at specific times (the times were changed from week to week so it wasn't a consistant schedule that I needed). For me, being in class and having the teacher right there to ask questions of has proven to be most beneficial, but like I said, it depends on how well you can keep on task and meet dealines with things on whether online vs. in class classes will be for you.



answers from Minneapolis on

online version for sure!!! class time for adults can be an extra time. I am an adult online [email protected] and I am currently taking 12 credits, in the summer session. my advisor recommended this to me because he knew I wanted to graduate as soon as possible and he knows I am a strait A student so I can take it like a man... I am actually not a man I am a 28 year old female, married and I have a part time job working as an exec assist for an attorney. I have been doing 18 creds in the reg sems, and 12 in the summers. Needless to say my social life is nil, but to me this is worth it. Your credit load it up to you, and what you think you can handle, I am just here to say it can be done... cause I am doing it.



answers from Honolulu on

Yes summer classes are more intense and condensed...
and if you have kids, depending on their ages and what they will be doing this summer (if they will be in a summer program etc), then you have to analyze that. And if you are working....

2 classes max, can be done during summer per session. But it will be busy. Busy even if you are not working nor have any kids.

I have taken 2 classes per session, during summers. My Husband who is going to school now, takes 2 per summer. And it is totally busy.

It really also depends on you.... if you can multi-task well and organize yourself and be disciplined enough to do it. And if you are a night-owl who can stay up late at night to study.

Also, as the others suggested... take 1 hard class and one not so hard class. AND... if you do know what classes you are taking and get signed up for those classes... then get your books AHEAD of time, and start studying/reading already... PRIOR to when the class starts, to give you a head start... before the class actually begins. This will help a lot.

It is do-able. If you can dedicate yourself to it and the time involved... amongst other daily obligations.

Studying will take up most of your time... and again, if you have a family/husband/job/kid... then you will have to juggle all of that.

All the best,



answers from San Diego on

Our school only does 5 week classes... so SUPER intense. I always took 2 classes in the summer (but I had to in order to keep receiving aid), but my kiddo was also still young enough to be napping (huge, as far as studying went). The 5 week quarter gave a 2 month break, which was fantastic, but man oh man the classes were intense.

I'd strongly reccomend if you're going to do 2 classes to only do 1 hard class, and 1 easy class.




answers from Topeka on

Having both taught summer courses and taken them I can tell you it's a lot of work in a shorter time. Everything happens faster including homework due dates and exams. You also have less time to absorb the info. This can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. If you take more than one, I would suggest you mix a quantitative with a non-quantitative.

I would also be careful of taking certain courses for your major in the summer if you think you won't be able to give it enough time. This is b/c you may rush through the material and get a just a passing grade without really learning the material. This will come back to haunt you later if this course is a prerequisite for other courses.

The point is summer school is like regular school but faster. If you have a strong work ethic you can do it. Just choose your courses carefully.



answers from Sioux Falls on

If you take two classes that you know you wont struggle with, you will do just fine. Just go into knowing you will have homework on those beautiful summer nights you would rather be out with friends. I took 2-3 summer classes each year I was in college. It just puts a damper on the summer activities. I also took 12-17 credit hours during the school year. My boys were 4 and an infant when I went back to school. Remember to take time for your kids too!


answers from Omaha on

I am an academic advisor at a university. The summer terms are 10 weeks, and the spring, fall, and winter are 12 weeks. They have the same amount of information in the summer that they do in the 12 week courses except it goes much faster and they pretty much cram it in. A lot of students either take it off or just take one class during the summer. Good Luck!!



answers from Omaha on

I was a single mom, working full time and I took 3 , 3 hour classes in the summer of 07. That was all I needed to graduate, and told all my teachers exactly that. I did the best I could do in all 3 classes and asked that they all at least give me a C so I could be done. I got an A, a B and a C. It was hard, but I am fortunate that I learn by listening, so the only real study time I had was my speeches, and I shoudl have worked a little harder there- she even told me I was doing too much. It is hard, but is do-able, if that is really what you want to do. Good luck



answers from San Antonio on

I took college classes during the summer. Because I had a great summer job on campus, and was single. One summer I took 2 classes and those classes with my summer job kept me hopping!!! You cover a lot of material in a little time. Your work outside of class is heavy. I was so busy. But was single, no boyfriend, no kids.....and it worked for me. If you have a family....taking 2 classes would not be fair to them.

Second summer, I took one class and worked. Much more manageable. I even had a little fun and R & R, too.

I loved summer classes. The class sizes are smaller---you get a lot more help and attention! The professors are more relaxed...they come to class in shorts and sandals a lot of the time. We even talked one of our professors into taking class to a nearby cafe one morning so we could sit outside and have coffee. I found it enjoyable....but if you are starting your first year, take one class this summer.

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