Ok folks, here’s the thing: a lot of students (and parents) hear, “summer school,” and their minds are automatically filled with images of drudgery and boredom, of students gazing out the window at the bright, sunny day while summer passes them by. Right? Or they think, “I can’t do summer school. I have to work and earn money over the summer,” or, “I can’t afford summer school/I am not from around here and I can’t afford to stay here for summer classes.”
None of these things are truly the monumental obstacles many people think they are. Let’s clear up some of this nonsense, OK?
First, your student does not have to give up a productive or relaxing summer in order to attend classes. The summer is divided into four terms–essentially May, June, July and June-July. A student could conceivably stay after the regular academic year, take a class during the May term, and have two whole months in which to enjoy summer or earn those all-important tuition dollars. Conversely, a student could just enjoy May and June, and come back early for the July. OK, so there’s no reason for students to say, “I have to work,” or, “I don’t want to be here all summer. It will suck.”
OK, so yeah, summer school is additional tuition on top of what you pay in regular tuition. BUT there are summer tuition grants available which could allow students to take a class for half-off. And freshmen can possibly get two of them. That’s a massive bargain. And Residence Life summer cost has been reduced to just $50 per week during the summer. That’s probably less than you pay weekly to house your student at home! In addition, financial aid is available for summer. Think of the long term financial benefit, too: if your student takes a couple/three summer courses each summer for two/three years, s/he might be able to graduate a semester early (and that’s definitely cheaper, right?)
If you have extenuating circumstances, or you’re still hesitant, consider all the possible benefits of summer school: your student can catch up/get ahead on credit hours, replace a low grade on his/her transcript, raise his/her GPA, focus more intensely on one class that may have been hard to juggle during the regular academic year, increase possibility for early graduation, and keep the intellectual machinery (at least somewhat) oiled and functional for the fall.
Are there any drawbacks? Just one, that I can think of: because classes are a month-long in most cases, class meetings are M-Th for four hours. That makes for a long day, and it means that if your student misses one class, s/he could possibly be missing the course material for what would normally be a week-and-a-half. If this is a bit scary, there is the June-July term option, which stretches things out a bit more. But one month or two months are both short timespans to learn material that would normally be covered over the course of the semester, so make sure your student a) knows all the reasons why this really is an awesome idea, and b) is committed.
Great. We’ve got that out of the way. Now, check out the summer schedule. Any questions?
Director of Writing and Parent Communications
Class of 2005