The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Summer College Courses Part 3

Taking Summer College Courses as a College Student

Do: Consider the advantages that online summer courses offer to a busy college student. Even if your summer plans include a job, you can still work as much as you want when you take classes online. Online college courses give you the freedom to study at any time of the day or night and start and/or complete a college course anytime you’d like, allowing you to fit your summer academic goals within the confines of your work and social calendar.

Don’t: Assume that you are too busy to make academic progress during the summer. You’ll find that online college courses allow you to hunker down and move through material when you have time, and back off when you don’t. Keep this process going, and over the course of a few weeks or months, you may be surprised by how many college courses you have successfully completed and college credits you have managed to earn.

Do: Take online summer college classes that are considered introductory or are prerequisites for your major. With the online revolution in education, there’s no reason to pay name brand prices for generic courses when store brands will suffice.

Don’t: Take online college classes without verifying first if the school to which you’d like to transfer them will accept those college courses for full academic credit. While many online colleges and universities do accept ACE and CLEP credits for transfer, not all of them do. It’s your job to verify that they do – and get it in writing to avoid any hassles later on.

Do: Take advantage of the low cost structure of online college course providers. These days, you can take start taking American Council on Education’s recommended (ACE Credit) college courses online for as little as $99 per month through StraighterLine and earn fully transferrable college credit. Remember that you need to check if your college accepts ACE transfer credits . Since over 1200 member colleges and universities do1, there’s a good chance yours does as well. (And of course, if you’re taking courses at StraighterLine, those courses are guaranteed to transfer to partner colleges.)

Don’t: Confuse the quality of learning outcomes with price. You can take college courses for credit online that are equal to or above the required standards at on-campus colleges and universities – and save upwards to 90% of the cost of college taken elsewhere when you factor in that the average annual cost of tuition, room, and board is $12,804 at a public institution and $32,184 at private ones.2 Many degree-granting colleges and universities, in fact, have transfer agreements with online colleges and universities , community colleges, and international schools that are based exclusively on learning outcomes such as those through CLEP3 and ACE4.

Do: Take online college courses you were prevented from taking at your current college due to over-subscription issues or even those you had to withdraw from for your own reasons. Many colleges and universities, given budget cuts, are being forced to “ration” some of their most popular and/or required courses. You shouldn’t have to delay your graduation just because you don’t have access to a course that is a requirement. Consider this: online summer college classes don’t fill up and don’t have quotas. You can take the courses you need this summer, transfer the credits back to your college or university and finally get back on track to earn your diploma on time.

1 American Council on Education, ACE Credit, 2012, p.1

2 National Center for Education Statistics, Fast Facts: Tuition Costs of Colleges and Universities, 2011, p.1.



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