How to make the most of your summer studies

While working at a summer job may be appealing, you may want to enroll in summer sessions instead. By taking courses during the summer you’ll earn the credits you need to graduate earlier than you would otherwise. In the long run, this could save you both time and money.

Take the fear out of summer classes by following our tips. (Credit: QuickMeme)

Take the fear out of summer classes by following our tips. (Credit: QuickMeme)

But summer courses aren’t any easier. In fact, they are often more challenging because they take place over a shorter time span. Here are some college tips for student success in your summer studies.

Reasons to enroll in summer sessions

One reason to enroll in summer sessions is to help you to earn your credits and graduate sooner. This will save you money on living expenses and get you into the job market faster.

Another reason for summer studies is to get your general education courses out of the way. Then there are the prerequisite courses that you need for your major.

In a March 10, 2014, post for CollegeCountdown.com, “The Ultimate Guide To Summer Courses At A Community College,” Diane Melville explained some of the dos and don’ts of summer course selection.

Melville advised, “While it may be tempting to take your general requirements and electives during the summer to get them out of the way, you should really focus on taking courses that are prerequisites for your major requirements.”

According to Melville, this would mean that humanities majors would enroll in upper-level courses in their major and science technology engineering and math majors (STEM) would take additional math and science courses.

Student success tips for summer sessions

Summer sessions are shorter than the fall and spring semesters. They typically last only about six weeks. Choosing the right courses is critical to your success. Taking a course that you know will be challenging may not be the best idea.

The folks at Boston University had a few suggestions for students on “Choosing Your Summer College Courses.”

“We suggest taking a balanced schedule—one academically challenging course and another course with which you may already have some experience,” they said.

Other tips can be found at the site of Purchase.edu, State University of New York where “Top 10 Summer Session Tips: By Students, for Students” included:

  • Know your goals: stay on track and stay motivated so that you’ll accomplish the goals that you’ve set for yourself
  • Don’t procrastinate: get your school work done early and you’ll have more free time to play and enjoy the summer
  • Don’t skimp, buy the textbook: yeah, it’s just for a few weeks but it really helps you be successful if you buy or rent the textbook so that you’ll have it on hand
  • Make sure that the course is right for you

“If you are enrolled in a course that you absolutely dread attending, your grades will reflect that. Since summer courses run at quicker paces, it is important that you are interested in the course,” they said.

How to succeed in college

A good place to start a successful summer session is at Questia. Not only can you read millions of full-text books, articles, newspapers and encyclopedias, there are tons of tutorials on how to write a research paper.

Research tutorials include videos, example lessons and quizzes to help you develop the skills to write an effective research paper. You can select the tutorials you need the most and then start, stop and resume them at your own pace.

Tutorial topics include:

  • Planning a paper
  • Conducting research
  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Quoting sources
  • Working with documentation styles

Questia’s tools will help you to research smarter and faster. The onboard tools help you to search, cite and write your papers. You can highlight text, write notes, set bookmarks and save your work in project folders.

It’s your summer so make the most of it. You can still enjoy the sun while you work on your studies. Take advantage of technology and work on the go with a laptop or tablet. Keep your textbooks handy along with a highlighter and writing paper.

Most of all, have fun!

To learn more about what Questia can do for you take the Questia tour.

What courses will you be taking this summer? Tell us your plans in the comments.

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