Set Yourself Ahead by Taking Classes During Summer or Winter Break

McKinley Falkowski, student, University at Buffalo  |  April 15, 2022 in Pearson Students

A young Black college professor stands in front of the classroom with his back to a green chalkboard. Several students seated in front of him are raising their hands.

Let’s be honest, the idea of winter or summer break and schoolwork don’t go together. Summers are supposed to be for the beach, and winter for skiing. But there are numerous advantages to taking courses during the winter or summer break. Taking winter or summer classes can set you ahead and make life easier for you in the fall or spring semesters. I will explore four key reasons why taking winter or summer courses can be advantageous to you.

  1. Fewer classes during the fall or spring semester – Depending on your financial aid circumstances, taking a class or two during the break may help you rebalance how many classes you are taking in the fall or spring semester. This can mean that you don’t need to overload yourself during those semesters by trying to fill your schedule with as many classes as possible. Additionally, it can help you out by allowing you to focus on those harder classes you signed up for. For example, if you know you need to take organic chemistry and calculus, why take those in the same semester when you can take the classes in a longer period you so can have ample time to devote to those two difficult classes.
  2. Knock out a prerequisite course or two and get into the upper-level classes – Taking a winter or summer course will allow you to get into those upper-level classes much faster as usually they offer prerequisite courses during these semesters. Getting into the upper-level classes sooner may be advantageous because it may open up opportunities to internships and future research with professors as they look for students who have taken certain courses and have ample time left during their university studies. Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of winter or summer classes is that they often do not take place in a packed lecture hall! This provides a greater opportunity to develop a rapport with a professor or TA.
  3. Keep your mind in the academic groove – I have often found it difficult to transition back into the “academic groove” during the first couple weeks of the fall or spring semester when I had not taken a winter or summer course. Up until that first exam, I wouldn’t devote the necessary time needed to fully grasp material and would in some cases fall behind for the remainder of the semester as I didn’t have complete understanding of material. Taking a winter or summer course has allowed my mind to remain in that groove and I also found it easier to concentrate, and devote the necessary time needed for material during the entirety of fall and spring semesters.
  4. You can still do all the activities you want to do with good time management – With good time management, all the skiing and beach trips are still possible even when you have academic commitments. Unless its an online course, you won’t be able to go away for a weeklong vacation, but it is still possible to do so many thrilling and relaxing activities. My tips for having good time management are to use a calendar, designate time each week to focus on each course, and write down all your assignment due dates together so you see what is coming up.

Winter and summer classes sound like the worst-case scenario for a break. But they can be worth it and set you ahead for future success!

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