The Ultimate Guide to Surviving (and Winning) Summer Classes

Whether you’re in high school or college, online summer classes can be a great way to catch up on material that flew by too quickly or beef up your credit hours. During the summer, you’re more likely to be taking less than a handful of classes rather than a full semester or quarter’s worth, which means you still have the opportunity to have some fun and spend time with friends and family.

Altogether I have taken four online summer classes through my university over the course of twelve weeks (six weeks per summer session over two summer). I decided to take two more classes online this summer because I absolutely loved the scheduling freedom they gave me during the active school year. I had more choice in what I wanted to take because I completed twelve credits of required classes.

Although I’m a big fan of online classes, I’ll admit they can be tricky when it comes to logistics and expectations. The first time around I was much more overwhelmed than I was this summer having already understood what I was in for. So I’ve gathered up the most important lessons and tricks I’ve learned to help you not only survive your summer classes, but to win at them along the way.

Check-in Daily

Consistency is key. Be aware of the reading you should be doing and papers you need to be writing. If you are anything like I was last summer, you might forget to check your school’s online portal for a few days only to realize that you have an assignment due the next day. You don’t need to spend hours scouring through the site every day, but you should be spending five minutes every morning checking in on assignments for the week and exact due dates so that nothing simple slips through the cracks.

Pay Close Attention to Details

Different professors have different guidelines. I’ve had teachers who assign work on the same due dates but at different times, even based on different time zones. If you live in California and are taking an online class from a professor in New York, keep in mind that your 3 PM is already his or her 6 PM. Don’t let the small details trip you up. Hit those submission deadlines because losing little points here and there can ultimately cost you a full letter grade.

Pretend You’re at School

When you sit down to do work, pretend you’re sitting in the library. Ignore the fact that you’re probably at home with temptations all around you—the bottom line is that you are doing real work for a real class that will factor into your transcript.

Think Big Picture

As important as classes and grades seem, try not to get too stressed about these online classes. It is summer, after all. Give yourself a pat on the back for taking the initiative to get ahead and be proactive! These tips will hopefully relieve some of the stress and help you enjoy your accomplishments.

What are your tips for conquering online summer classes? Let us know!

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