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.