Taking Summer Classes vs. Getting a Summer Job

Summer will be here sooner than you think, which for many students means getting or returning to a summer job. But if the prospect of waiting tables or banktelling doesn’t seem enticing over the next three months, you could just stay on campus or take summer classes elsewhere.

laptop, eyeglass and sand

Here’s a list of reasons why staying in school might be better than getting a summer job:

  • If you stay on campus, you still have the freedom from your parents.
  • You can get ahead and finish classes sooner. Plus, classes are often smaller during the summer since most students are working or doing internships.
  • Get those prerequisites out of the way! Even if you are home for the summer, often you can take general education classes at nearby community colleges. Just make sure the credits transfer to your school.
  • Summer is a good opportunity to take one of the more popular classes that you can’t get into during normal registration periods.
  • Summer is almost like a “re-do” period: If you got a poor grade in a class, June through August is a good time to retake the course and improve your GPA.
  • If you take classes at a different school during the summer, it’s a good opportunity to meet new people and experience a different campus.
  • You can often save money on classes by taking courses in the summer (especially if you go to a community college). On the other hand, some schools jack up the prices during the summer, so that’s something else to consider.
  • If you didn’t get that internship you really wanted, taking summer classes is a good way to feel productive, and this initiative will look good on your resume for prospective internship employers next summer.

Some things to remember

Just because it’s “summer school” doesn’t mean it’s going to be any easier. If you don’t have the mindset to learn in the summer, you may want to reconsider. Also, the classes can be expedited, meaning they run faster than normal classes; you don’t want to fall behind.

All in all, working during the summer and taking classes both have their benefits and drawbacks. Working during the summer can humble students, reminding them of what life is like outside of the college “bubble.”

You just have to figure out what you’d ideally like to get out of either experience and which one best suits your interests.