After writing my last post on the pros and cons of taking summer classes, I realized that I didn’t get into the process of actually creating your summer class schedule. Scheduling summer classes is similar to scheduling classes during the regular semester, but there are definitely some differences to keep in mind.
Who’s Teaching the Class?
I’m not usually an advocate for choosing a classed based on the professor. Students often want to take classes with popular instructors based on information they hear from their friends. I’ve found through personal experience, as well as through my work with students, that many times unlikely connections can be formed with professors students never expected to like.
Something to consider with summer courses, however, is that they are sometimes taught by faculty outside the department or who may not teach the course regularly during the year. This can provide you with a completely different experience than you were expecting. Do a bit of research by talking to your regular professors to learn whether you might want to take the class with its regular faculty.
Will It Transfer?
Taking classes at university or community college near your home can be a convenient way to fit in some additional credits, but be certain they will transfer to your program at your school. The only way to be sure about this is to see an academic adviser or the registrar at your institution. This will take some legwork on your part, but it’s worth it. You don’t want to find out later that you spent time and money on a class for nothing, especially not right before you’re planning to graduate!
Can You Get Financial Aid?
Another step you should really take when planning your summer class schedule is to check with your financial aid office. If you’re receiving federal financial aid or scholarships, you need to be sure your program will pay for your summer courses.
There are policies and guidelines in place with most financial aid packages that allow students to take only so many credits per academic year. If you’ve taken your allotted credits, you will not be able to receive more funds for summer classes. Believe me, I speak from personal experience; you’ll want to look into this. I once planned a summer internship only to find that I had no financial aid until the fall semester. I had to scramble to figure out an alternate plan.
Summer classes can be a really good way to meet your academic program’s requirements, and they don’t have to be a drag. Just be sure to cover all your bases and do your research to get the best experience possible.