Summer is a fantastic time to get a head start on college. By taking college courses during the summer, you can affordably get some of your general education courses out of the way before starting college — and get on the fast track to your degree. Let’s look at how you can take summer college courses while still in high school to earn credit before you even step foot on campus.
What Are Summer College Classes for High School Students?
Summer college classes offer a unique opportunity for high school students to both earn credits and get a head start on their academic journey. In most cases, the variety of classes available may be more limited during the summer, but they’re often offered on a condensed schedule that allows for focused learning. Different schools often have different schedules or time frames for their summer courses. You can start with one class or take multiple courses to accelerate your progress. Additionally, some schools provide pre-college summer programs that offer a taste of college life and help students explore their interests.
Why Take High School Summer Classes for Credit?
There are a number of benefits to taking summer college classes as a high school student. Not only can they be valuable learning experiences, but they can help you start to build a strong foundation for your future academic and professional endeavors.
Summer classes can be a smart financial choice for high school students. Online courses, for instance, often cost less than equivalent in-person classes. The average cost of a single class at a state university, for example, is $1,170, and that doesn’t include room, board, and other fees. On the other hand, StraighterLine courses are a fraction of that price (courses start at $79 plus a $99/month membership fee) and include everything you need to finish successfully. By earning college credits early, you might also graduate early, reducing overall tuition expenses.
Summer classes present an excellent opportunity to challenge yourself academically and explore subjects not typically offered at the high school level. These classes delve deeper into various disciplines, exposing students to higher-level academic material. By engaging in challenging coursework during the summer, you can develop the critical thinking skills you’ll need once you begin your freshman fall semester.
Enhance Your College Applications
Taking summer college classes while still in high school showcases your commitment to academic excellence and can add that competitive edge to your college applications. Admissions officers often value initiative and dedication because those qualities speak to your ability to thrive in a higher education environment. A proactive approach like this can help set you apart from other applicants.
Explore Your Interests
If you know what you’d like to major in or what profession you’d like to pursue — or if you’re still trying to figure it out — summer college classes can provide you with an opportunity to take classes that directly speak to your interests, or help you discover new ones. Some non-traditional courses you might consider over the summer include:
- Cultural Anthropology
- Introduction to Criminal Justice
- Teaching Students with Exceptionalities
- Business Law
How to Make the Most of Taking Summer Classes
Once you’ve decided that taking summer classes is the right choice for you, how do you get started? How can you maximize your schedule and class options to get the results you want? Here are some helpful tips:
Consider Your Schedule
As you think about the number of classes you want to take, consider your other commitments such as summer jobs, extracurricular activities, or family vacation plans. Balancing work and academics during the summer will require some planning and time management, but this is good practice for when you get to college.
Good preparation will help you make the most of your summer classes. Your school's counselors or teachers can help you explore the options available. Make sure you research credit transfer policies to ensure your hard work pays off and that the credits you earn during summer classes will be recognized by your college of choice.
Choose Your Courses Carefully
Selecting the right courses is essential to your summer class plan. Assess your academic goals, interests, and career aspirations when considering which courses to take. StraighterLine offers a range of courses that can be ideal choices for high school students, including:
Taking classes that fulfill your college’s gen ed requirements while still in high school can free up time in your academic schedule to take courses for your major or other interests, or even work toward early graduation.
Consider Course Format Options
High school students have the flexibility to explore various course formats when taking summer college courses. You can enroll in individual courses offered by colleges and universities or opt for online classes that provide convenience and accessibility. Some educational institutions even offer specialized summer pre-college programs designed for high school students. These might function a little bit more like a summer overnight camp, where you spend a number of weeks on campus as you complete one or two courses. These different formats allow you to find the approach that best suits your learning style and preferences. Whether you prefer a traditional classroom setting or the flexibility of online learning, choose an option that will accommodate your needs.
Take Your Summer Back with StraighterLine
StraighterLine is designed to help all students achieve college success. Our courses teach you what you need to move your academic and professional goals forward, and most of our students finish their courses in 4-6 weeks. The cost of a course includes your etextbook and access to 24/7 tutoring services, so you have all the resources you need to succeed. Contact us through our live chat feature today to talk with a StraighterLine enrollment counselor and learn how we can help you save time and money by jumpstarting your college career.