Disadvantages of Taking College Classes Over The Summer

financial aidIn my previous post, I discussed a handful of advantages with taking courses over the summer at college. While many of the advantages makes sense for students, you have to also look at the other side of the coin, the disadvantages and what it will “cost” you in the end. In this post, I am going to take about some of the disadvantages that you should be aware of when it comes to taking summer courses.

Disadvantage #1: Loss of Income

Many college students work a summer job to earn money to help pay for books, tuition and other expenses during the upcoming school year. When I was in college, my summer earnings were the majority of my income for the year. Without it, I don’t know how I would have survived. If you plan on taking summer courses, you have to account for this loss of income and how you are going to survive financially during the upcoming year.

Disadvantage #2: Other Expenses

In my advantages post, I talked about reduced housing expenses. But a disadvantage to this is that for many colleges, the dining hall is closed over the summer. This means you are going to have to buy yourself groceries to eat. This isn’t a huge problem assuming you have transportation to get to a grocery store.

Disadvantage #3: Work Load

Summer courses are full-credit courses, condensed over a shorter period of time. This means that you will be attending class either more frequently and/or for more hours each day. During a typical semester, you might have four weeks to complete a project. With summer courses, that same project will be due in two weeks. Plus, all reading assignments will be longer. The god news about this though is that the time does go by quickly. Just understand the workload that will be expected of your before you sign up for three classes.

Disadvantage #4: Lack of Services

During the summer, since most students are away, many college services shut down completely (see the dining hall above) or have reduced summer hours. The big one is the library. During the school year, the library may be open late into the night or even 24 hours a day at the larger universities. But come summer, you can expect the library to shut down much earlier. You will have to plan when you use the library to do your research as it may not be open when you are accustomed to it.

Disadvantage #5: Lack of Choices

Many times the course offerings over the summer are for general courses that many students need to take. You aren’t going to find a highly specialized class relating to your major being offered during the summer. So if you have most of your general courses taken, you may be out of luck even if you want to take summer courses. Colleges will list the summer course offerings at some point in the spring semester for you to see if any of the classes you want will be offered.

Final Thoughts

When you weigh the advantages and the disadvantages, you may find that taking summer courses makes sense for you. Everyone’s situation is different, so it is very important that you look at both sides of the issue before making your decision. Understanding what you will gain and what you will give up will go a long way in helping make the right decision for you.

9 Responses to Disadvantages of Taking College Classes Over The Summer

  1. There is also the issue that loans and grants typically only cover the fall and spring semesters. So if you take classes over the summer, you are paying full price for them.

    Personally, I liked the reduced period. When I took Calculus I & II over the summer, the class met 5 days per week instead of 2. I had a lot of trouble adjusting to a college schedule from a high school one and I think those summer classes helps a lot with that.

  2. Michelle says:

    I took summer classes at a community college one summer. I took 12 credits (4 classes) and still worked full-time. The summer was a drag but it was nice to wipe out so many classes in just one summer.

  3. I really don’t like taking summer classes. I don’t like missing the fun and enjoy taking a break. But I also understand that sometimes, we have too depending on our situation.

  4. You can still take summer classes and work. I did, and it was no problem. Especially since most of the classes you can take during the summer are basics. Basics are easy to get through. Plus, it’s possible to take summer class online, which allows you to live at home, and keep your expenses under control.

  5. Fat Free Personal Finance says:

    Taking summer classes seemed like a brilliant idea, but turned out to be a huge mistake. I took 2 of my hardest collegiate courses over the summer thinking that I would do well if all I had to do was focus on 2 classes. Unfortunately, this planned backfired. The courses were at 8:00am and 9:30 am. With it being the summer in a college town, there was a party just about every night of the week. I rarely made it to my classes and, as a result, received a C and D. This obviously hurt my GPA.

    I’m sure some students are able to use summer classes to get ahead, but not this guy.

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  7. My daughter just completed her sophomore year and landed an excellent internship in her field (unpaid, of course) which required that she move permanently to the city where she goes to school. The internship is part time, so she planned to take some summer classes and get a part time paying job. This is a major university in our state and there were no Tues/Thurs classes in her field she hadn’t already taken or completed the same requirement it would fulfill with another course. It is too expensive to just take something for the hell of it.

    She was very frustrated to say the least.

  8. Martin says:

    I took courses every summer! I wish I had taken more summer courses to be honest.

    It forced me to hold my partying off for the weekends and to stay focused. Plus, do you see what girls wear in the summer????

  9. I took one summer class per year and it wasnt too much, but enough to get me ahead!

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