Why You Shouldn’t Take Summer School

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In elementary and high school, one would think those two words should be never be so close together. It seems though, that somewhere in the madness of college, students did a complete 180 and decided “summer” and “school” were long-separated lovers that needed to be right smack next to each other. At my college alone, roughly 40% of the student body is enrolled in summer classes.

Why are so many people enrolled in these classes?

Thomas wrote in a recent post that for those without internships that summer classes were a great alternative, and the reasons he listed are among the strongest arguments for summer school.

  • It can make your school-year course load easier
  • It can fulfill pesky graduation requirements

Of course, there are many more reasons for taking classes in the summer and circumstances can leave students with no other choice. While buying groceries, I had the cashier at Trader Joe’s tell me she had to take a summer class to graduate after she had already gone through the ceremony, ouch.

Despite all the reasons for summer school, taking these classes can actually be detrimental to your academics. How so?

Summer School is Not For Everyone.

A problem that arises with summer school is the number of students who go into it while still burnt out from the academic school year. I hit this problem following my classes ended this year; after more than a year of non-stop studying (I started my MCAT class the day after my finals ended last year) I was mentally exhausted of the school grind. I had signed up for a Statistics class, but after being realistic with myself, decided to drop the class rather than half-ass my way through the class.

Putting off summer school will allow you to recharge academically to head into the next school year with a full-tank of motivation. Rather than get through summer classes only to be further exhausted by the time next school year rolls around, try taking a break from academic classes.

If you want to take summer school, really dig deep and figure out exactly why you are giving up this valuable time. Probably bad reasons? “Because other people are doing it,” “What else am I suppose to do?” and “I don’t really know.” For college students, the summer is an invaluable chunk of time that can be devoted to experiences that would be improbably to juggle during the school year. Go explore your city, take up an internship or summer job, work on a personal project, or even grab some books and work on personal development.

Heck, even your own start-up going.

When your schedule isn’t dictated by a syllabus, the possibilities can be endless. Do be aware, however, that creating your own summer schedule requires you activity seeking out what to do. This fact alone will scare a lot of college students, as they can’t remember the last time they did something for reason other than “because that’s what I’m required to do.”

Not taking summer school doesn’t mean stopping everything and lounging around, in fact my argument is the contrary. Take the summer off from classes in order to challenge yourself in new and exciting ways. The stress of worrying about grades takes it’s toll over time, and the awesome part about non-academic projects is that results are measured in ways that extend beyond the A-F grading scale.

And from what my graduated friends have told me, the A-F grading scale doesn’t seem to exist in the “real-world.”

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12 Comments on "Why You Shouldn’t Take Summer School"

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summer school makes me suicidal so thats a pretty good reason


summer school is abusive to your brain not to mention taking it 6-8 weeks thats bull, we need a new way to help students pass like end of the year afterschool meet for students with low grades otherwise repeating and not summerschool


I agree with Maddie hate summer school!


Summer school sucks


I have never been a huge fan of summer school either. I think it’s important to take that time to regroup, refocus and rebuild. If you take summer school, when will you have time to land that awesome internship that will launch your career, or read that book on your to-read list that you didn’t have time to read because Phys/Anatomy was kicking your butt? Also, unlsess you are a teacher or start off your career with 4 weeks vacay, you don’t get a summer break ever again, enjoy it!!


Thanks for reading Steph! Your acting class sounds like a phenomenal experience; summer is the perfect time to go beyond the classroom with activities just like that. Like Thomas mentioned, classes get pretty monotonous after awhile. Taking a break from the “homework, study, test” cycle can pay much larger dividends than just taking classes “for something to do” during the summer.

Thomas Frank

@StephRWong Hmm… that makes me think – why should summer break end when school does? You could build a job that allows for long breaks….

My latest conversation: https://collegeinfogeek.com/2011/07/what-youre-not-on-linkedin-fool-of-a-took/


@thomasfrank09 Yep! Taking it slow is great for actually seeing progress instead of getting stressed out. And plus, we all better take advantage of the fact that we still even have a summer break since we’re still in school! So I guess if we can afford not to take summer school, then don’t 🙂

My latest conversation: http://www.jmatthicks.com/stephtest/?page_id=2

Thomas Frank

@StephRWong great insight, Steph. I completely agree with taking a light load if you are going to take summer classes – spending 4-5 hours a day in structured classes gets old after nine months. Students need a reset, and they should take some time to go out and get some real experience!

My latest conversation: https://collegeinfogeek.com/2011/07/5-super-duper-secret-browser-hacks/


I agree that if you do decide not to go to summer school (or have an option not to because you can actually graduate in 4 years w/o it), you should fill your summer up with some great self-developing activities. I think summer is a great way to try out something new and spontaneous. I just decided to jump into acting classes this summer and I’m loving it so far. I am, however, taking summer school twice a week at a community college, which brings me to the point that I think if you are going to take summer school, a community college is the way to go. Generally it’s easier. And trust me, my class is easier than a 6th grade class (which isn’t always true for other classes of course). And I’m doing an internship so it’s all working out great for me. If you are gonna take summer school, make it a light load (like one class) and make sure you fill up the rest of your summer with a BUNCH of other activities so you’re never sitting on the couch watching Jersey Shore.

Great post!

My latest conversation: http://www.jmatthicks.com/stephtest/?page_id=2

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