As we’ve discussed before, summer learning loss is a phenomenon that affects every student, no matter their grade level. The last thing you want to do is let your academic skills go dormant over that long break you’re looking forward to, and taking online college courses is one day to keep your mind sharp.
In fact, there are a lot of reasons to take online college courses. As a high school junior or senior, it’s a great way to jump start your college education and go into your freshman year with a few classes worth of credits. As a college student, you can get your menial but necessary courses over with during the summer so they don’t distract you from your more challenging coursework during the year. Plus, it’s a great way to catch up if you’re falling behind on credits.
That being said, the last thing you want to do is commit to a course only to find out that it’s time-consuming, cuts into your vacation, or simply not worth it. Follow these do’s and don’ts to get the most out of your summer college courses!
Do: Think about the advantages.
While attending an on-campus class could prove to be wasting your time and your gas, there are a lot of advantages to attending college online during the summer. You have the freedom to study and listen to lectures whenever you like, so you can fit your academic goals into the confines of your work schedule and social priorities.
Don’t: Get in the mindset that you just want to pass.
Online college courses do require you to be self-disciplined, which is especially challenging during the months that are supposed to be your vacation. For this reason, a lot of students get it in their heads that they’re only going to do the minimal amount of work necessary to pass. Remember – these courses do affect your GPA, and future employers do look at your GPA. Plus, if you’re paying for a course, you should want to absorb the information. Take only one or two courses so that your work load is light, but take them seriously!
Do: Take advantage of the low costs.
A lot of schools and programs that provide credited online college courses do so for a very low cost. You don’t have to take the courses through the school you’re currently attending as long as your credits will successfully transfer. Shop around and find courses that fit your requirements but that are cost-effective and you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t: Think low cost means low benefit or vice versa.
Essentially, you don’t want to find yourself paying extra for a course when you don’t have to. Do your research before signing up and paying for a course – make sure that your credits will transfer and can be attributed to your degree. If all checks out, then the class is worth taking, even if it’s inexpensive. Similarly, don’t think that just because you’re taking an expensive class at a private institution that it will definitely transfer or that the information will be more valuable.
Do: Use online courses as an opportunity to get into classes you otherwise wouldn’t get into.
Was that class you wanted or needed already full? Does your school not offer a course you really want to take? Online college courses are the best solutions to these problems! It’s all-too-often that students don’t get to graduate on time because they forget to take a class or can’t get into it, but since you can take courses at any number of different schools, your options open up more by taking the class online. Graduate on time and feel as though you got the education you wanted.