Wandschneider: Don’t overlook summer class perks


Kelby Wingert/Iowa State Daily

Taking summer classes has many benefits that students don’t take into account when considering. Some benefits include better focus, smaller class sizes, improved GPA and faster graduation time.

The most looked forward to time of the school year is when classes are officially over and summer vacation begins. For three straight months, students take advantage of not having to worry about school, but they are missing out on a helpful opportunity: summer classes.

The idea of taking classes during the summer sounds absurd. After all, summer is supposed to be our break from school, not a continuation of it. There are many benefits to taking summer classes, however, that college students overlook because of the idea of being in school longer.

The most obvious reason for taking summer classes is to get ahead on one’s four-year plan. This can mean students are taking classes so they do not have to worry about perquisites for classes the coming fall semester. Also, if someone wants to finish college sooner, summer classes make that dream a reality.

Since most students would rather not spend their summer learning, classes are much smaller. By having a lower student-to-teacher ratio, students are able to get much more out of a smaller class.

Instructors also have more time to help students one-on-one and make sure that they fully understand the material, which is perfect for a class that a student may find challenging. That student is able to get the attention that is needed to succeed. Also, this is extremely helpful for students that prefer a smaller class setting.

Taking a few classes during the summer can also be a cheaper option than staying an extra semester at a university. A lot of times, summer courses are taken at a community college, which provides a much lower tuition. It is an inexpensive way to get ahead on one’s education.

If the community college route is chosen, it can always help keep your ISU GPA in good standing. Say a student struggles with math, but needs it as a general education requirement.

By taking the course at a community college during the summer, that student is able to focus on that course instead of a full course load, plus activities. A student has a better chance to succeed if he or she is only focusing on a single subject.

Also, only the credit transfers from a community college to a university. That way students do not have to stress about getting a high grade, they just need to get a passing one for it to count. This allows students to not destroy their GPAs because of a class that they find particularly challenging.

Since elementary school, our teachers have always told us to keep practicing the material we learned so when fall comes the information is still fresh in our heads. Taking summer classes can keep our brains stimulated and keep them in the habit of learning information.

Often, summer classes meet everyday, which helps keep the material fresh and can make it much easier to learn new concepts since students are constantly practicing them. When fall semester comes around, students will not have to rewire their brains to get back in the swing of studying.

Some might be hesitant to take a summer class, fearing that it will take too much time in already busy schedules. A majority of summer classes last less than a semester and have online options, so students do not have to worry about making it to class.

Iowa State’s summer math classes, for example, are only in session for eight weeks, or half a semester. This makes it easy to fit class into a busy schedule and gives students plenty of time to still have a relaxing summer vacation.

Summer breaks are placed to give students some time away from school and to unwind after a stressful school year. Taking classes during the summer gives students a chance to gain the benefits of a smaller class setting and still allows them to enjoy a break.