Pros & Cons of Summer Classes

Every year, for as long as we can all remember, we’ve counted down the days until summer vacation. We are finally free from the endless hours of class and can spend our afternoons at the beach with friends. Summer is the time to do whatever your heart desires and now, you can reread your favorite books, take a road trip or travel abroad!

But, we’re growing up. Maybe those afternoons at the beach should be spent searching for a job. We are in that weird transitional phase where nobody knows exactly what we're supposed to be doing. Do we drop everything to live out of our cars and cruise up the coast? Should we get an internship?

Another option is to take some classes over the summer.

At first, the thought of willingly choosing to continue taking classes during your vacation may cause you to question your sanity. Let’s weigh the pros and cons and see if it’s right for you.

You’ve got the time, so why not get ahead? That’s one of the major perks for continuing into summer. Not only is it great time to get ahead, but it’s also the perfect chance to catch up on a few things, too. Sometimes we fall behind, stuff comes up and maybe you don’t pass a class. We’ve all been there. Summer is prime time for retaking a class and boosting you GPA that may have dropped a bit last quarter. Plus, with less distractions going on around you, the more relaxed, summertime vibes may be just what you need to really focus in on those more difficult courses.

On the other hand, seeing your friends post pictures of their Hawaiian holiday while you’re studying for a stats final could put a major damper on your study session. So, yeah, you do miss out on those few months of freedom. Try to focus on the positives. Here at Cal Poly, they offer 5-week, 8-week and 10-week sessions over the summer. Even if you go for the full 10-week session, you still get the better part of September off before fall quarter begins.

Also, for what feels like the first time ever, you can actually get the classes you need without crashing four different courses in one day only to end up stuck on the waiting list. Not all the usual classes will be offered during summer quarter but you can totally strategize and work with what’s available and use it to your advantage. If your proactive enough, you can even talk to some of the faculty and see if other students are interested in getting a class together during the summer.

There is another option. You can take a few online classed. It sort of feels like a nice, happy medium. Cal Poly has an entire course catalog of classes that can be taken online. This way, you have the freedom of a usual summer vacation while still actively working towards your degree.

Of course, one of the biggest issues is the cost. It’s another round of books along with the tuition fee and most of us can’t take that hit to our bank accounts for a full year. Financial aid is still available for those specific students who qualify so that’s one more thing to consider.

Obviously, there’s a lot to consider. Think about all the positives and negatives before you make any decisions. Whether you spend your summer at the beach or in class, do what’s right for you.