9 Reasons to Take Online Summer School Classes

by Stephanie Thurrott

Many students view the summer months as an opportunity to take a break from schoolwork. For most, an academic schedule with a long summer break is all they’ve known, going back to when they first started schooling.

But there are a number of good reasons to take online summer school classes to help advance your education. And at Azusa Pacific University, students can choose from more 140 summer courses in more than 70 subjects.

If you’re thinking about continuing your education with the help of online classes this summer, here are eight benefits to consider.

1. Allows You to Graduate Sooner

Online summer school classes bring you that much closer to your ultimate goal—graduation. If you’ve struggled with a class or two during your college career, you can catch up over the summer. And, if you take enough online summer classes, you might even be able to shave a semester off of the time it takes you to graduate.

2. Saves You Money

Summer school classes are often less expensive than in-person sessions, so you can earn credits at a lower cost. At APU, summer courses for traditional undergraduates can cost up to 70 percent less than classes that are traditionally offered in the spring and fall. And if you’re not living on or near campus, you’ll save on room and board, too.

3. Lets You Focus in on a Topic

With summer classes, you can more easily find the time to tackle that challenging course you’ve had your eye on. When you take a tough class (along with three or four other courses) during a traditional semester, it can be a juggling act to give each course enough attention. But when you take just one or two summer classes at a time, you can often focus in on and master that difficult subject matter.

Or, if you’d rather take a lighter load during the summer, you can get some of your easier general education or electives out of the way during the summer season and lighten your course load in the fall.

Ismael Lopez Medel, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, pointed out that summer classes can also give students the opportunity to explore more unique topics. “Many times, universities will use the summer format to test specific topics,” he says. “For instance, I am teaching a course in the public relations major called Digital Storytelling on Instagram.” Such a specific and newly developed course like this is less likely to be offered in the spring and fall, he notes.

Focusing on a smaller online class workload means you can study specialized topics, while also focusing your efforts on a single class instead of a full load of courses.

4. Keeps Your Momentum Going

When you take a summer off from classes, it can be tough to reconnect with your work ethic and routines once the fall semester starts. Taking summer classes online helps keep you in that academic groove and eliminate the need to get back into the swing of things in the fall.

5. Lets You Control Your Own Schedule

Another great benefit of online classes is that they don’t typically place the same demands on your calendar. While you’ll still have assignments, quizzes, and tests to complete, you’ll be able to do most of the work at times that are convenient for you. That means you can fit in your classwork around your work schedule or any other existing obligations.

6. Builds Your Time Management Skills

With online classes, you’re expected to show up and do the work on your own. You don’t have the accountability of an in-person class scheduled two or three times a week. Online summer school classes can help you learn to break up your work into chunks and better manage your time.

7. Helps You Catch Up If You Change Your Major

When you change your major, there may be prerequisites you need to complete before you can move into the advanced classes. If you take these classes online over a summer, you can hit the ground running in the fall. Taking online summer classes also allows you to connect with the professors in your new program. Medel explained that summer courses “usually are small-sized, which allows you to get to know and work with the professor.”

8. Gives You the Opportunity to Grow as a Person

Outside of your future career, who do you want to be? During the school year, you’re usually focused on an academic plan that has one primary goal: graduation. But with smaller class sizes, lower tuition costs, and unique course topics, online summer classes let you explore courses that are outside of your major. “It is time to keep investing in yourself as someone who will bring value to others for the rest of your life,” Medel said. “Consider what message you send to employers if you keep busy and active over the summer.”

This mentality is important in seasons that require change and adaptation, Medel suggests. “It is time to be more creative than ever,” he said. “Feed your curiosity.”

9. Leaves Time for You to Enjoy Summer

When you take online summer school classes, you don’t have to work straight through the season. APU offers five- and eight-week summer classes in two sessions as well as summer-long 16-week courses. So if you want a break, you can still start classes later in the summer, depending on course availability. If you have events or vacations that will put demands on your schedule, you can take classes when they work for you!

Are you ready to sign up for summer classes at Azusa Pacific University? See which classes are offered online and how they fit best with your academic plan, schedule, and degree requirements.