Taking an online course over the summer break can be a great way to get ahead on your major and knock out some core classes. This is especially true if you have found yourself with some extra free time this summer due to social distancing. Why not be productive and get ahead for next semester? Taking a summer class can help you dive into a new major, take an exciting elective, make room for that bonus minor, or put you on an early graduation track. Perhaps you aren’t currently in school, but want to start again? No matter what your situation is, online summer learning is a great option to explore.
If you are new to online summer learning or are planning on balancing a job while taking a course, choose your class(es) wisely. Your first course shouldn’t be in a challenging subject, as you won’t be able to have access to the same support resources at home that you would at school. Academic support centers and regular office hours might not be available to summer students, so set yourself up for success by taking an appropriate level class. Take an exciting and fun elective or knock off one of your general education requirements.
If you are working a summer job, caring for a sibling, or participating in any other non-school related activity, let those people know about your summer class. Of course, do not use this as an excuse to perform poorly at work or elsewhere, just communicate with managers and supervisors about your schedule. Keeping them in the loop might come in handy when your midterm and final rolls around, and you need some extra shift coverage to study. Make sure your family or roommates also understand that you might need some quiet time here and there for your online summer learning.
Online summer learning is an extra expense and time commitment. Make sure to connect with your academic advisor before registering for the summer course. They can help you make sure that the class matches your desired degree and that the credit will transfer to your university. If you are just starting out with a new program, this is even more important to confirm. Also, it is essential to inquire about the grade you will need to earn to transfer the credit. Sometimes, colleges and universities can be picky when it comes to transferring credits, so it is important to make sure that your class will count towards your degree.
If you are planning on signing up for an online class, make sure that you have the time to participate in online summer learning. Spending time in a virtual class will mean fewer beach days, but also give you more free time when you are back on campus in the fall, or returning to your regular schedule. Set reasonable standards for yourself and manage your time wisely. Get a planner and make sure you do not fall behind on assignments by organizing and setting up a perfect home office/study space.
If you have not taken an online class before, you might find it a little more isolating than your typical college classes. Reach out and make connections with your professor and classmates. Email your professor on the first day and introduce yourself; this will open communication for later in the semester if you have any questions or need extra guidance and support. Email fellow students in your class and participate in online discussion boards. Making connections with fellow virtual classmates can be helpful for when exams come around so that you can form a study group and reach out to peers with questions.
Are you planning on enrolling in an online summer class? Let us know!