As the days get longer, the weather hotter, the shorts shorter, there can only be one explanation: summer’s coming. Stress-free, homework liberated, relaxation-laden days await us, bringing forth promises of full-time uninterrupted free time. As much as summer is a time for hanging out with friends and binge watching on Netflix, the summer months are also a great time to expand on your learning.
I know, I know. You’re shaking your head: Uma, are you serious? It’s summer! The antithesis of school! Well, even though summer is a time for relaxation, it’s equally important to keep your mind sharp and not let all that hard earned knowledge you’ve accumulated in the past 10 months seep out of your brain.
That’s where summer courses come in handy. Even though the idea of school in the summer seems like the exact opposite of a summer well spent, there are many advantages. Summer courses are a great way of learning new things, exploring fields you’re passionate about, and getting your daily dose of schooling.
Curious about earth science, but your school doesn’t offer it? Take it in the summer! Summer courses allow you to shop around for specific courses that interest you. Always wanted to learn German? Use programs like Duolingo. The summer is a perfect time to try your hand at different fields and figure out what you like to do. Expanding on your hobbies helps you figure out what you like and dislike, along with your strengths and weaknesses to gain a better idea of yourself.
Taking additional classes with your high school can help you free up your schedule during the school year, and add more credits to your transcript, which can help you graduate early. It’s also a great way to continue learning about a certain subject at one shot. Taking grade 11 physics immediately after grade 10 physics is easier since the material is still fresh in your mind. For seniors who just graduated, taking summer courses at your local community college or university can help you bump off some of the pesky general required classes you’d need to take in the fall anyways, freeing up your upcoming semester.
If you aren’t entirely prepared for taking calculus in fall, use a summer course to brush up on your math skills. Fortifying the basics will help you understand the complex material faster and easier. On the pre-med track, but haven’t taken a chemistry since junior year? Take a summer course to reorient yourself with the subject matter.
Many high schools offer summer school for remedial classes and students who want to get ahead in their schooling. These classes are usually free and offer you credit that contributes to your transcript and GPA. Also, many universities and colleges advertise summer opportunities for high schoolers that want to take courses at a more advanced, fast paced level. These classes are a way to get a taste of what college is really like, and the credits you earned could be transferred to the school you choose to go to after senior year. Another amazing tool for summer education are online courses. Sites like Coursera, Udacity, or MIT OpenCourseWare offer an array of classes for free to all. The courses are affiliated with a university and are taught by real university professors from all over the world!
All summer courses equip you with numerous advantages. It’s a great (and educational!) cure for summer boredom, because honestly, there are only so many lazy days a person can have. Also, taking a course or two each year helps develop self-regulatory skills and puts you in charge of your learning, much like a real university course does. The autodidactic nature of many summer classes pays off in the long run by preparing you for college courses and instilling the notion that learning can be purely for fun.
There are many opportunities to further your education during summer, but remember to have fun. The 10 other months of the year are already spent studying; these 2 months are needed to recharge, relax, and reinvent yourself. Productive summers mean going to the beach, taking road trips, and spending time with your friends and family all the while continuously challenging your brain. Carpe your summers– it’ll be fall before we know it.