There are some perks to taking summer classes

By Annastazia Camarena

Summer classes are probably the last thing college students want to think about around this time of the semester, but consider how the benefits can outweigh the cons.

Summer classes are a great way to get credits in a short amount of time. Some local community colleges offer prerequisites you may need for your degree. Taking a few courses during the summer semester can lighten your class load come fall and spring. Whether you are trying to stay on track or graduate early, you should consider those classes.

Tuition is also much cheaper at your local community college than taking classes at a university. Unfortunately, financial aid usually doesn’t cover summer courses so you have to find the money out of pocket. According to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, community college tuition can be about a third of the cost of tuition at a public university. At NIU, summer tuition for students planning on taking up to eleven credit hours is $329.57 per hour. The price per course hour at NIU is about the same for every semester, so if you plan on taking summer courses look to your local community colleges for a better bang for your buck.

As dreary as it may sound, the homework you will be assigned will keep your mind sharp. Another advantage of taking classes over break is you would already be in the routine of hitting the books without that initial reluctant phase when the fall semester starts.

If you only take one or two courses, you will have more time to focus on those two subjects as opposed to juggling three to six different subjects a semester. This could really help you absorb the subject material better and make the course much more enjoyable.

There are a few things to keep in mind before you register for school. Prior to paying, it is very important to make sure those classes will transfer to the university. One way to make sure your credits are transferable is to meet with your academic adviser or check NIU’s transfer credits and program major guides online. Another important thing to remember when enrolling for summer classes is to make sure you are enrolled in that same class for fall, because if something happens where you cannot complete the course you do not want to find the class is full. Summer courses at a community college may seem easier but you should still take it as serious as you would if you were taking it at a university. These classes will be more intense because they are usually six to eight weeks long, so attendance is crucial.

Lindsey Wooster, freshman elementary education major, was a little reluctant about taking summer classes at first. Like most students, Wooster “just really wanted to be done with [schoolwork].” After talking with her academic adviser Wooster plans to attend her local community college to take some prerequisites so she get into NIU’s elementary education program.

Summer is so close you can almost taste it, but before you shut off your brain think about how a summer course or two can benefit you. Registration for classes has already begun, so it’s time to bite the bullet and enroll. You will thank yourself later.