For most of my life, I felt a pang of concerned pity for everyone who told me they were taking summer classes. Why unnecessarily prolong your torture when you have the opportunity to willfully neglect all academic obligations for three months? My perspective changed very quickly when I realized that the countless times I switched my major meant I had to take summer classes to graduate on time without stuffing my schedule during the traditional school year.
Though I am now eternally grateful for summer classes because they allowed me to experiment with majors without sacrificing my graduation date, I have plenty of friends who took them simply to get ahead. Several of them can now graduate early or easily pick up majors and minors just because they put in a little extra time in the summer.
The great thing about summer classes, at least at UCLA, is that they do not last the entire summer. They are accelerated courses that give you the same amount of credit as any course you’d take during the school year, and you can take as many or as few as you want. I’ve found that taking one or two courses at a time is nothing like taking three or four like you do during the conventional academic year. You can still live your life like a normal human and just put in a little extra study time. It makes it exponentially easier to gain course credit this way rather than packing your schedule in fall, winter or spring.
Not to mention, professors tend to be significantly more chill during the summer. Not only is it also their time to relax, but they tend to be aware that students are going out of their way to get extra education during their would-be free time, and they’re pretty nice about it. I took two different legal communication courses with the same professor, one in summer and the other in winter, and the difference in experience was stark. Grading was more lenient, tests were online and open-book and the pace was slowed and calmer in the summer. The professor even acknowledged the difference. That said, summer courses also tend to be offered both in-person and online, so if you want to travel or stay at home over the summer, you don’t have to worry about living on campus.
Whether you’re trying to get ahead, you dabbled in majors like me or you simply want to take easier classes for the same amount of credits, I highly recommend summer classes. As someone who vehemently rejected them for years and now takes one or two every summer, I am here to tell you that they are not as horrific as you would think. They tend to be much more chill, they’re brief and it’s shockingly easier to study when you only have a couple of courses at a time.