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Student Potential

Summer School: Is It Worth It?

Vanessa Tiberio
Vanessa Tiberio

As the warmer months approach, students may be thinking about whether they would like to spend their summer days hitting the books. While taking classes during a break may not sound like the best option, there are many benefits to taking classes during the summer.

Here are some pros and cons of taking summer classes to help you decide whether summer school is worth it for you.

Benefits of summer classes

Lighten your workload during the school year

A major benefit of summer school is having fewer classes to worry about during the school year. If your program requires you to take ten classes each academic year, but you take two during the summer, you’ll lighten your course load by one class each semester.

Having fewer classes during your semesters allows you to dedicate more time to each course and lightens the work you need to do. Also, if you choose to take on a full course load in addition to taking summer classes, then you can fast-track your degree and graduate early!

Helps you stay on track

Taking summer classes can help you stay on track with your degree requirements. As a student, sometimes life happens, and you may need to retake a course that you dropped or failed. Taking these classes in the summer is a great way to ensure you don’t defer these classes to another year. Focusing on one or two classes over the summer can improve your grades and give you more time to understand the course material, without having to worry about competing degree requirements.

More relaxed workload

Another great benefit of summer courses is that you typically won’t take more than a few classes at once. Having fewer classes to worry about means you can dedicate more time to less course work, relieving the added pressures of juggling a full course load. If there are classes that you know will take more brain power, you can be strategic in devoting your summer to classes you find more challenging.

Smaller class sizes

Summer classes are often smaller than regular classes as fewer people take them. If you prefer a more hands-on learning experience with one-on-one support from your instructor, summer classes may be the right fit for you. However, this may vary according to academic institution and programs, so make sure to do some research before enrolling.

Take classes at different schools

Another option for summer classes is to take them at a different school. Many schools allow you to take transfer credits from other universities by obtaining a “letter of permission” from your school. If you attend a school in a different city, this may be especially helpful if you want to spend your summer back in your hometown or try going to another school!

Take classes abroad

The final benefit of summer school is that you can take classes while travelling abroad. I’ve taken a course through my university that allowed me to spend time abroad while earning course credit. These classes can be offered through your university, a school abroad, or international programs. Be sure to double-check your school’s requirements so that your course credits will be accepted before you enroll!

Cons of summer classes

Classes may be accelerated

A downside of summer classes is that they may be accelerated in duration. Rather than a typical course that may last around 12 weeks, summer courses could be scheduled for six weeks instead. If you like to go through course material slowly, the crammed nature of summer courses may not be the best fit for you.

Less time to relax in the summer

Another thing to consider is that summer courses can eat away a sizeable portion of your summer. If you plan to relax, travel, or work, taking summer courses will make your schedule busier. You may not have time to do things outside of school, which could cause some FOMO and warm weather withdrawal.

Financial costs

Another thing to consider is that these courses may come at a higher cost than fall or winter courses. Many institutions charge students tuition and ancillary fees that cover student life, recreation and more. Because of this, taking a few courses in the summer may be more worthwhile than just one.

If you are receiving financial aid, loans, or scholarships, check if it covers summer courses, as you may need to reapply or you may not be covered.


Before enrolling in summer courses, consider what’s best for you and your academic goals. Ultimately, summer school can be worthwhile if it aligns with your goals, learning style, and program needs. The best place to start is talking to one of your school’s academic advisors; they will be able to direct you based on your unique situation.

Vanessa Tiberio
Written by Vanessa Tiberio

Vanessa Tiberio is a third-year journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University. Vanessa has experience in video production, radio, broadcast and digital journalism. Vanessa is passionate about politics, social justice, arts, culture, and travel. She seeks to provide transparency and share stories that deserve to be listened to.