For many college students, the last place they’d want to spend their summer is inside a classroom, but taking even one or two classes at a local community college over the summer may be worth it. Here are five reasons to consider enrolling this summer.
1. You can save money on credits
Tuition at community colleges is about a third of the cost at four-year institutions, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. If you earn enough summer credits, you may be able to graduate early or enroll part-time at your current school, which could cut down on your overall tuition bill.
In addition, if you move back home for the summer, you won’t have to pay for room and board while you’re studying (although if you live off-campus you might need to sublet your apartment to cover your rent).
2. You can focus your attention
Taking just one or two classes at a time means you’re not constantly juggling competing homework assignments or cramming for multiple tests during exams. Since there are fewer distractions, the summer is a good time to take classes in subjects you might otherwise struggle with. That way, you can really focus on understanding the subject matter. Class sizes also tend to be smaller over the summer, so you may also have more access to the instructor if you need help.
3. You’ll have more scheduling flexibility
If you focus on getting prerequisites out of the way, you’ll have more space in your schedule during the school year for electives or for hard-to-get-into requirements for your major. Or, if there are classes you’re interested in that your school doesn’t offer, you may be able to take them over the summer and transfer the credits. Be sure to check that your credits will transfer and can be used toward your degree.
4. Your grades won’t affect your GPA
Credits generally transfer if you receive a grade of C or higher, but the grades you get over the summer likely won’t affect your GPA at your full-time school. If you get a lower grade, your school may not recognize that you took the class at all. Check with your registrar’s office if you have questions about how the course will show up on your transcript or the minimum grade you’d need to get credit for a specific course.
Keep in mind, if you apply for graduate school, you may have to send transcripts from all schools you’ve attended, so you should still do your best.
5. You’ll make yourself more employable
Community college classes are a great way to beef up technical skills with courses your school doesn’t offer or that don’t work with your schedule during the school year. For example, if you know you’ll need to use a particular computer program or understand basic coding principles to succeed in your industry, building up that skill set now can give you a leg up on other applicants when you’re looking for an internship.
Before you enroll in any classes this summer, check with your college adviser to make sure that the credits will transfer and see whether there’s a limit to the number of transfer credit that the school will accept. Typically, four-year schools are most likely to recognize General Education credits earned elsewhere, and most public schools will recognize credits from in-state community colleges.
Summer classes can save you money, give you time to focus on a tricky subject matter and help you get ahead in your career, and they may not even require that much of a time commitment. Taking just a class or two over the summer can pay off and still leave you time for a job or internship and hanging out with friends and family.