The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Summer College Courses Part 4

Taking Summer College Courses as an Adult Learner

Do: Think about how your existing job or career could be enhanced by starting college courses this summer for credit. Could a couple of college courses be standing between you and a promotion? Could earning your degree make a significant difference in your take-home pay and career trajectory? Taking summer online college courses can help set the stage for your own career advancement.

Don’t: Assume that the online college courses you take will be less challenging or worthy than courses taken on a campus. These days, online colleges and universities are considered mainstream – and must go through the same rigorous evaluation process as their on-campus counterparts. In fact, over 6.1 million students took at least one online course during the fall 2010 term; 31% of all higher education students now take at least one course online.5 You can earn associates, bachelors, or masters degrees completely online in subjects as varied as nursing, teaching, and engineering from institutions as diverse as Western Governors University, Excelsior College, Ashford University, Thomas Edison State College, Albany State University, University of Phoenix – and so many more.

Do: Recognize it may have been a while since you’ve last been enrolled in school. Things may have changed since then; particularly the role technology plays in education. Taking classes online not only allows you to refresh your academic credentials, prepare for CLEP exams, or take courses to earn college credit – it also brings you face-to-face with interactive technologies. From online blackboards to virtual tutoring to at-home online test proctoring – you may be inspired to take lessons from your academic life into your home and office.

Don’t: Think going back to college has an age limit. Midcourse career corrections and reassessments are common these days. You don’t have to settle for the status quo if your career is not working for you. If you have always felt that a health field would be a good fit for you, why not check out courses that can lead to an online nursing degree or a career in healthcare support and administration ? Likewise for accounting, business, or even engineering – you can find courses online that can help take you wherever you’d like to go.

Do: Continue to work while taking online college classes for credit. The advantages of an online college education are many. Of significant note to the adult learner, who already has many constraints on their time, is the inherent flexibility that online college classes offer.

Don’t: Forget that if you are a parent, you are the ultimate inspiration for your children. Instead of telling your kids that education is important, show them. Going back to college and earning your degree is beneficial to you, your career, and your whole family system. Education is the gift that keeps on giving to yourself, and those around you.

Taking summer college courses online offers the ultimate summer break – a break from the confines of the traditional education system, or maybe even a job you hate. Try it out. You may find out you love it; and keep coming back for more and more. Who knows, if you enjoy taking online classes, you might just find out that you have what it takes to earn a degree without ever stepping on a campus.

5 The Sloan Consortium, Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011, p1.