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Being a student during the COVID-19 outbreak has been stressful to say the least. There’s really no saying what the future in higher education will look like, but we can set our sights on the near future. Summer school is normally a great opportunity to get on track with your degree progress, but this unique time calls for more debate. Therefore, Her Campus will help you out with a pros and cons list to simplify your decision.

Pro. Price!

Cal Poly’s 2020 summer quarter will be $225/unit, cheaper than previous years. In addition, there will be additional financial support due to a recent donation, according to the President’s email. If you only need one or two courses, summer school could be a good route because it will be on a unit basis not a flat tuition.

Pro. Flexibility

Like this spring quarter, summer classes will be entirely online. This will give people the freedom to study from wherever is most convenient. As always, students will have the option of 5-week, 8-week, or 10-week sessions. Because of this, it will be easier to fit school into your unpredictable life.

Pro. Graduate on Time

There have been countless changes in the past few months, and if it has disrupted your degree progress, this could be a useful time to get back on track.

Pro. Credit/No Credit?

Cal Poly hasn’t published any information about the summer policy, but it is possible that they will extend the grading policy of spring quarter into summer as well considering it will be online. In that case, there is a better chance of raising your GPA.

Pro. More Courses

President Armstrong has said that Cal Poly will offer more courses than is usually provided in summer. 

Pro. Been There Done That

Both you and your teachers will have experienced a full quarter online and will be more adept because of it. There will be less technical difficulties and you will hopefully have adjusted to learning at home

Con. Summer Break

I would like to emphasize the word summer in summer school. There’s a reason we have breaks in the school year. Considering the additional stress that comes along with living through a pandemic, students need time off from school more than ever. If you see yourself getting burned out by the time fall comes around, it’s probably not worth it. There’s no harm in taking another quarter past your intended graduation date (with an exception of some scholarships and special cases). You’ll be paying for the classes regardless.

Con. Been There Done That

As I’m sure we’ve all experienced, online learning is just not the same. While we’re in college to get a degree, we’re primarily here to learn. We only have a set amount of time here, so it seems like we should wait until we can access the on campus, “learn by doing” resources that our expensive tuition funds. 

Con. Working with School

Lastly, I know summer is a time for many people to earn money. If this is the case, ask yourself if you’ll have enough time and energy to devote to both.

Before signing up for summer school, reflect on your experience during online learning. Are you able to sufficiently focus on schoolwork while surrounded by the people you live with and the things in your home? Does the stress from COVID-19 and its impacts get in the way of your work?

While our society encourages hard work, side hustles, graduating as soon as possible, and always looking toward your next goal, there’s nothing wrong with taking a breather. As much as we try to cope with the pandemic, it will ultimately affect us all. It’s ok to not be fine. It’s ok to take a break. 

Wendy McCullough is a second year English major and Graphic Communications minor at Cal Poly. When she isn't writing for Her Campus, she's surfing, hiking, jamming on guitar, and watching cheesy romcoms.
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