Summer, summer, summertime. The few months out of the year that are supposed to mean fun, sun, and relaxation. However, with the state of the current economy more and more students are leaning towards other plans to fulfill their summers: internships, jobs, studying abroad and even summer term. Is it worth taking summer term? What are the benefits?
To give students an edge during their degree, signing up for summer term is a great opportunity. For community colleges, there’s usually one term lasting about five to six weeks. For traditional four-year universities there’s two terms, each lasting about five to six weeks as well. The benefits can range from getting ahead of a student’s credit schedule to making up for possibly failing a class the previous term. Many study abroad programs are also offered during summer terms, and although they last the same amount of time as attending on campus, it’s half the cost of going for an entire term during the year.
Yet it’s the cost that is the problem for many students who may be interested in attending summer term. In general financial aid doesn’t apply for summer terms, so a student’s going to have to plan ahead, up to a year in advance if they want to stretch the money. It’s an unfortunate circumstance. Attending summer term can help provide a class that might not have been available during the year. Going to summer school isn’t like how it was in High School – as a punishment. In college, it’s regarded as a privilege and should be treated as such.
It might not be what you expected to be doing with your summer, but fortunately as the classes only last five to six weeks it still allows for half the summer to be spent at your leisure. Unless if you’ve signed up for both terms (nothing wrong with that – way to take life by the horns!). Summer term is meant to help students if they want or need it, and if need is the case, get to your financial aid office to inquire if there’s anything that can be done. It’s an added expense for the student, but if done every year can seriously save the student a chunk of change, and even graduate early! If you’re required to take summer term in order to graduate on time, don’t despair and don’t be embarrassed. It is there to help and it’s an amazing accomplishment to achieve a full term’s worth of credits in five weeks.
Summer term is never worthless and will always be worth it with the catch of the student being able to afford it first. Maybe this summer isn’t a possibility, but it’s not too early to start planning for next summer and taking advantage of a great opportunity.