Remember when you were in middle or high school and everyone thought that you were a troublemaker if you had to take summer school? Driving around early on a Monday morning in June, you could see the sadness in the eyes of the children that regretted throwing that paper airplane at the teacher or pinching the girl in the class that he liked. In college, however, summer school is something that the really dedicated students sign up for; and, if you are planning on or are already admitted to a public university (I can only speak for the good, ole state of Texas here), I recommend that you certainly take a summer class or two.
Public university students are required to take a handful of American History and Government, a little science, a dash of English and a pinch of arts to complete any four-year bachelor’s degree. Here’s a hint: these classes are much less expensive at a community college and will most likely transfer in with ease. Before you register and pay for these summer classes, you should check with your academic advisor to make sure that the credits will transfer. Many times, the advisor can have you fill out a document to ensure that the class that you are about to take will transfer in with a 100% guarantee. And if you want to be a super overachiever, you can take classes at your main university while taking one from a community college.
Many community colleges offer classes during the summer (usually split into Summer I and Summer II). There is also something called a Maymester, which lasts for the month of May. Think about this: finishing a class in one month instead of four, and it’s cheaper! I personally recommend the Maymester or Summer I class that way you will still have a break before the new school year starts. It is also very easy to find classes that are offered online, which means that you can still take that vacation that you wanted. You may not be reading the book that you wanted, but when you’re lying on the beach, there is really little to complain about.
I took all of my History and Government requirements over two summers at a community college. Let’s face it, the earlier in your college career the better for these classes. It’s not like that history book changed much from last year. You might have to read the last chapter of the book, but that’s only if you haven’t heard anything about 9/11, the 2004 voting controversy and Obama. In fact, I took one history class in three days. It was a lot like ripping a Band-Aid off: quick, but not-so-painless. I was just focused on the cost-benefit here…$120, 3 days, 3 credit hours. Done.
Taking these classes during the summer allowed me the freedom to study abroad, which is something else that I whole-heartedly recommend. Besides a study abroad, there may be a myriad of other activities that you would like to spend your time with during the fall and spring semesters: volunteering, becoming more involved in school or working (yay, for building your resume!). So in order to get the most for your money, slather on that sunscreen and get a head start on those core classes!