Skip to Main Content
Idaho State University home

Should I Take Summer Courses?

April 23, 2021

Summer is here and although some students are planning out their vacations, others are considering continuing their education. There are pros and cons to taking summer courses and knowing both can help sway your decision if you have contemplated taking them yourself. Listed below are a few factors that might influence your choice: graduation, cost and class size.



  • You can graduate faster. But at what cost?



The most obvious benefit of taking summer courses is to speed up graduation. The more classes you take, the faster your education will go. For those who want to complete school as soon as they can, this is the perfect option. Taking these courses will also keep you in “study mode,” which means you will be able to retain more knowledge instead of losing it. Most of the time, students won’t continue to study over the summer because they consider it to be a period  where they should take a break and not practice a school routine. Those who decide not to study often find it difficult to get back into the school rhythm for the fall semester. 


Although it can speed up the process, there is a cost that you may have to pay. Taking a break from school is important in the way that you are able to focus on other things and allow your mind to rest. Constant studying and school work can easily burn you out if you don’t take a moment of rest, especially if you plan to do a fall and spring semester. 



  • Smaller classes, faster pace. 



Classes in the summer tend to be smaller and shorter since there are not as many students taking them. Instead of four month’s worth of classes, summer courses are condensed down into a little more than a month. This also means that classes might be four days a week instead of two. Some students like this faster pace, especially if the classes are for general education. For those who prefer online classes, there are many options for synchronous (class at a set time) and asynchronous (class not at a set time). Doing class online can be the easier option if you have a job or other responsibilities and can’t attend in-person classes.


However, a faster pace can be quite difficult for others. You will be expected to do much more work. Professors will most likely assign more homework such as reading multiple chapters from textbooks each week or multiple assignments a day. This isn’t the case for every class, but keep in mind that course material will go quickly. All of this work can also prevent you from doing any other activities such as working or going on vacation. It is advisable that if you take summer courses, you should not decide to go on a trip where you can’t attend classes that are in session. You could quickly fall behind and struggle to catch back up.



  • Cheaper or more expensive? 



Classes over the summer can be more affordable depending on how many you are taking. If you are only doing one or two classes, you will be paying the cost per credit and that can be cheaper than a full tuition. Do keep in mind that you will still have fees to pay and any other material that is required for your courses such as books. If you want to know the exact cost, you can visit Idaho State’s webpage here


Paying cost per credit can be cheaper for some students but if you are taking a full semester’s worth of credits, it won’t be more cost effective. It can be difficult to get financial aid and scholarships as well. Many scholarships are only for fall and spring semesters, but not all of them. 


These are only a few of the pros and cons to taking summer classes and your choice all depends on what you want to prioritize. You are able to graduate quicker, go at a faster pace and maybe save some money. But you could also easily get burnt out, overwhelmed and the amount of classes taken may not be proven to be more cost effective. If you want to register for summer courses, you can do that by logging on to BengalWeb. To explore your options for online classes, you can visit Idaho State’s webpage here