How to Survive an Eight-Week Mini Class

This past semester I completed my first-ever mini college class. If you don’t know what that is, I am about to change your life. Many colleges offer 8 week long “mini-semesters” where you can complete a class in half the time it would normally take. These classes are usually taken online and most of time they pair with another 8 week class of similar studies. So, for example, I took American History 1 for the first half of the semester and American History 2 for the second half.

These mini semesters are honestly one of my favorite things about academic life in college for a couple reasons. They are usually less expensive so you can take more classes in one semester and you can get more credits done in a semester. These mini terms are most of the time still anywhere from 2-4 credits, and by taking them you can fit more credits in (possibly leading to early graduation!) Another reason why I love them is that, depending on the timing, you can get a mini-break in between the two classes. 

Mini-session courses include an accelerated learning situation in which students can focus intensively on course subject matter and provide greater flexibility in scheduling classes. With the shorter formats offered within semesters, students can use this time to take a prerequisite for a course needed in an upcoming semester, take a course that will advance them closer to degree completion, or take this opportunity to lighten the load for the regular semester. Taking these classes during the summer is also a great choice if you want to get ahead for the next school year! 

One concern I had before going into this semester was the workload. Obviously, it’s going to be more work per week because you have to basically cut your class in half, but it’s nothing that any other student couldn't handle. If you are thinking about taking a mini class, you have to evaluate your schedule first and decide how much time per week you can actually devote to studying and completing assignments. I found during my first mini semester of American History that I would have about three chapters to read, an online quiz program on each chapter, some short videos to watch, and then either a discussion board or short essay assignment each week (plus two separate weeks for the midterm and final exams).

I hope that this provides some clarification on what exactly I went through during my first 8-week mini semester and I honestly loved it so much more than a traditional 16 week class. It has allowed me to finish all of my history requirements in one semester so I don’t have to worry about forgetting everything I learned over the summer. It also allowed me so much flexibility because I didn't have to go sit in class twice a week and I could complete assignments on my own time throughout the week.

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