Five Tips for Taking Summer Classes in College

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Many colleges and universities offer courses that take place between the spring and fall semesters. These classes cut the weeks in half, and professors teach only the most critical material. You can take these summer classes to pick up extra credits and graduate faster or retake a course that you had difficulty with or withdrew from.

Completing summer classes will help you make strides toward finishing your degree. Keep in mind that the flow is different, and a summer class comes with a few challenges. If you're planning on taking summer classes in college, or still deciding whether to sign up for them, here are five tips to follow so you can ace summer courses.

1. Plan (Way) Ahead

Summer classes run on condensed schedules. It's vital to stay on track, because you'll have limited time to catch up if you fall behind. Start keeping a planner or calendar handy. Go through your syllabus and note your readings, assignment due dates and exams days in advance. A prepared schedule will make sure you never get surprised.

2. Manage Your Time Wisely

The summer season is full of distractions. While it seems like everyone else is having fun or taking vacations, you'll need to stay focused through longer lectures and study sessions.

Think of a time management strategy for yourself that keeps you on-task and allows for the occasional break. You can try having lectures earlier in the day and use the afternoon for schoolwork, which gives you time in the evening to enjoy yourself. When you stick to a routine, reward yourself for those good habits.

3. Take Thorough Notes

In-class lectures are a small window to absorb as much information as you can. While the professor's lecture can go on for a while, always be diligent with recording notes in your laptop or notebook. Give your notes a review after class to make sure they're organized and understandable.

4. Make a Study Group

You may get distracted when you're working by yourself. Reach out to fellow students in the summer classes you're taking and consider doing schoolwork together. After all, their schedules are about the same as yours! As a team, compare lecture notes and study for exams to make sure you all understand the material.

5. Pick a Lighter Course Load

Wondering how many college classes you should take in the summer? Start with one or two. The schedule will get hectic if you cram more than two courses into that small handful of weeks.

Gen ed courses tend to have lighter workloads than major-specific classes. Before you sign up, get in touch with the professor to understand what assignments to expect. If a class revolves around a lot of writing or lab work, be honest with yourself about how much you can handle in a short period of time.

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