How to Take Online Summer Classes in College

Ginger Abbot

May 8, 2020
tips for taking online classes summer

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If you feel like everyone is talking about online summer classes recently, you’re not alone. Taking online classes in college has become an increasingly popular option for both students in college and high school. But what are online classes?

Online classes are a great option for students who need more flexibility or want to get ahead on extra credits. You’ll be able to connect with instructors, communicate with classmates and learn from your laptop — in various subjects and disciplines to match your course needs. Plus, when you choose to take classes digitally, you’re not limited to your local university or your home college — you can enroll with any school or program.

If you’re looking for advice on summer courses but don’t know where to start, here are the best tips for taking online classes. 

Why Take Online College Classes?

Students may pursue summer classes for various reasons — including schools and campuses emptying out for as long as the pandemic lasts. Due to COVID-19’s spread, online classes have become the more accessible and feasible option. 

In general, students may take online summer classes to explore new fields, get ahead in their degree requirements or challenge themselves in new ways. 

Online courses bring the classroom to your home, too. Students who may not be able to go to a college or school can use the accessibility of online resources to learn.

girl taking online classes in college

What Are the Advantages of Online Summer Classes? 

Many students choose online courses because of their comparatively reasonable pricing. Online classes are typically less expensive than on-campus courses, especially with online summer classes at community colleges.

You’ll also be able to knock out certain requirements for your degree — like core requirements or prerequisites. This step can help you get ahead in your education, catch up with your degree or even graduate early, depending on how many classes you take. When credits transfer over, you’ll have less on your plate during the school year. 

Online summer classes for high school students can expose prospective college students to career and study options so they have a better idea of what to major in. The same concept also applies to current college students — you’ll be able to explore new classes you may not have had space for during the semester. 

How Do Online Summer Classes Work?

The structure of online classes will vary. Some will be self-paced, whereas others will have a schedule as a regular class would. Check to see if there are exams or assignments that ask you to meet an in-person or due date requirement. 

No matter the structure, make sure you’re still maintaining the best school-life balance during your summer studies. Online classes should be intellectually stimulating, but you should still make time to enjoy your summer.

Online summer classes aren’t too different from in-class learning structurally. You’ll have a learning management system (LMS) — like Blackboard or Canvas — where your instructor uploads content, assignments and grades. You’ll be able to submit your work here, too. 

The major differences are the main form of communication and the duration of the course. Instead of learning in-person, you’ll obviously be communicating through live video, pre-recorded video lessons or visual chat, depending on the type of class. The courses may last up to 10 weeks, too, which is a few weeks shorter than a standard semester. During this transition to a new dynamic, you should use tools like time tracking to manage your productivity. 

taking online classes in college schoolwork

How Can You Enroll?

You have various options for choosing online summer classes. Different colleges will offer different types of online learning, so the choices may seem overwhelming at first. To simplify the process, local colleges and universities are a good place to start. Community colleges offer immersive experiences for high school and college students — for a reasonable price — so you might want to check the summer course catalogs from your nearby schools first.

Once you find a class, the enrollment process will be similar to that of your standard course selection and enrollment. You’ll first want to thoroughly research the classes and requirements, see if the credits transfer over, and explore the potential course material. Once you find the right fit, you can enroll online by a certain date — check the college website so you don’t miss the deadline!

The Online Experience

Since online summer courses are becoming an integral part of the education system, now is a great time to get started. Jumpstart your college education — or get ahead with your degree — by exploring your digital summer class options today.

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