1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Taking summer school for reduced course load during school year?

  1. May 5, 2013 #1
    Hi everyone,

    quick and hopefully simple question,

    I was wondering is it a bad/good idea to take one or two courses in the summer to have a slightly reduced courseload during the school year?

    And how does this affect chances of graduate school and scholarships etc?

    Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 5, 2013 #2
    I think summer courses are great and I definitely don't think it would have a negative impact on scholarships or grad school options, especially if you do well. I don't understand why more students opt out of summer classes. It's a great opportunity.
  4. May 5, 2013 #3
    The main reason I can think of how it would affect grad school admissions is lack of research or reduced research in the summer time. Although at the same time having a reduced course load in the school year could give you more time for research then. But if you wanted to do an REU program over the summer, which looks really good on graduate school applications, then it would be pretty much impossible to take summer classes.
  5. May 6, 2013 #4
    Ah, I see. That makes sense. If you were to take, say, one to two classes I would imagine you'd still have sufficient time for research. I'm taking classes this summer but I just started school and won't start summer research projects until next year, probably.
  6. May 6, 2013 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Actually the main reason why more students don't take summer courses is because they are working over the summer. If you can afford to do it summer school can be great, but be aware of the assumptions you're making.

    1. Will having a reduced course load actually be of any value during the fall/ winter terms?
    2. Do you need a break over the summer to perfrm at your peak?
    3. Are the courses you want available over the summer?
    4. Can you handle the intensity of a the time-condensed format of a summer course?
    5. Can you afford it, both in terms of money and opportunity cost? Summer jobs also allow you to develop valuable skills and create network connections that will help you later on.
  7. May 6, 2013 #6
    1. I personally take summer classes to cut back on the amount of time required to complete my degree. With summer classes I am more likely to graduate in exactly 4 years rather than the typical 5 year period of time that it takes most people to obtain their degree. You are right about the fact that a lot of folks work over the summer, but that should not prevent someone from attending school part time during that time. One or two classes over the summer while working is completely doable.

    2. Summer breaks, while nice, do nothing to prepare college students for the real world. When you graduate with your degree and move into the work place there is no "summer break".

    3. Depending on the size of your school, there may not be much available to you over the summer semester. Typically, however, you will be able to at least knock out some of your general education requirements and/or electives.

    4. This is absolutely something to consider.

    5. Summer tuition is usually discounted, which is something that you should take advantage of if possible. You are correct in that working during the summer does provide a bit of work experience in between primary semesters. Summer research programs would be especially beneficial.
  8. May 6, 2013 #7
    Thanks for the reply guys.

    I am actually doing a research project this summer, and was considering taking courses on top.
    One of my main motivations for considering summer classes is with a reduced course load I could potentially focus more on my senior year thesis for the coming school year.

    However I see that for a lot of graduate admissions, they consider the marks of the last two years.... If my marks were really good next year they might think that was because I have a reduced course load and that is what I was thinking might affect my admissions!
  9. May 6, 2013 #8
    Grad schools don't care about your course load, they care about your academics.
  10. May 6, 2013 #9


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Here is one of the implicit assumptions I was trying to point out. You're assuming that a reduced course load will translate into better marks.

    It seems logical enough. However, in practice, I have observed that many people tend to slack off a little more when they have more free time. So in making a decision like this, you really have to consider your own personal discipline.

    This won't be a factor for one or two courses. We generally look at the bigger picture with each applicant. You can't say that someone necessarily had an advantage or disadvantage due to the courseload taken in a particular year. Students drop or add courses for all sorts of reasons... taking care of family, working, sickness, volunteer work, etc. In general, you're evaluated on your performance in the classes you took.
  11. May 6, 2013 #10
    It is a great thing to do. I took 2 summer classes and it freed up some room for other classes I wanted to take. Wish I did it every year.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Taking summer school for reduced course load during school year?