Making the Most Out of Your College’s Summer Course Catalog

The summer is a time where most people are thinking about going away for a long time, to see friends and family. Is that the only thing that you should be doing this summer? Absolutely not. If you really want to get the best advantages in school, you must check out your school’s course catalog. There are so many classes available that just don’t get offered during the regular school year. You could be missing out on several networking opportunities without realizing it.

Think about how your professor views the students that take the summer classes. He or she knows that you could be lying out on a beach right now, but you’re focusing on your studies instead. When it’s time to write that letter of recommendation, they will remember moments like that. Also, if there’s a “secret” scholarship that pops up, they will remember to pass it along to you. This isn’t guaranteed, but it really can’t hurt can it? Wouldn’t it make more sense to at least look through your options and figure out which direction you honestly want to go?

Staying in School for the Summer: Making it Happen

First, look through the summer course catalog. Every school will offer something different, so we can’t make any recommendations specifically. But if you know what you really want to focus on in your major, the summer is a great time to throw in some classes that can make your coursework stand out. For example, if you’re a Computer Science major but you want to cash in on the Big Data rush, picking up a fun summer course in machine learning, data acquisition, or statistics could be just what you need before you go on to an internship.

Next, you want to ensure that you take great notes in the summer. Sure, you might have a laid back professor for the summer that really doesn’t care if you show up. But do you want to be known as someone that can’t keep their word? It might sound silly, but yes, keeping your word matters in this case. You have to make sure that you’re thinking carefully before you take any summer class. What do you want to get out of the experience? Are there going to be other students that you can bond with?

In the LinkedIn age, there’s no reason why you can’t send over a link to your personal profile. Bonding with other students can widen your social network. Summer classes can be very fast paced, so it’s important to watch for deadlines more than usual.

Some courses can e taken in the summer on a pass/fail basis, or even just as a class audit. This is great for when you’re unsure about a course, but you really want to talk to the professor and see how they handle the class. Depending on your institution, auditing a class can be completely free, but you will not receive official college credit.

If you’re going to do a summer class, see if there are any free resources that can take the place of the textbooks. If it’s a class that really isn’t going to refer to the textbook, it doesn’t hurt to just skip the book. Of course, this will depend on the specific class. If you really want to see how the professor will handle something, just email them. You’re going to get an answer either way, so you might as well just feel them out before you plunk down more money.