Do the words “summer school” strike a bad taste in your mouth? Have you ever considered taking a class over the summer before? It isn’t all bad, you know: there are plenty of reasons why you should take summer school. If school doesn’t sound appetizing to you at all, maybe you should take a look and see what the purpose of summer school is and why people take it in the first place.
What is Summer School For?
You may be wondering, “What is summer school for?” After all, not every student has to take it in high school, so why should you. It’s not mandatory, and it just takes away from the precious free time you get during the summer vacation that only comes once a year. Who voluntarily wants to spend more time than they have to in school? Well, the answer to that comes in the form of grades and classes. Summer school is a great opportunity for students to retake classes that they didn’t do too well in or just failed outright. With summer school, they have the chance to raise their grade point average, and you also have the opportunity available to you, should you ever need it.
Summer school also lets you take classes that you wouldn’t usually take, like elective credits. You may not want to take art or theater during the regular school year, but since schools typically require you to take two or more electives to graduate, you need to take them sometime during your high school career. With summer school, you don’t have to take it during your normal school year; you can take it during the summer. By doing so, you free up your schedule for other classes that you want to take during the fall and spring semesters, like AP courses. Or, if you’re feeling a bit stressed out and just want to relax a bit, you can leave those class slots open and forgo the extra class.
However, it should be said that using summer school to get ahead in your classes is a valuable tool at your disposal, and you should use it at least once in your high school career. It allows you to take more classes than you normally would be able to take, which, if you’re planning on going to college, allows you to get ahead in your college classes as well. Think about it this way: Say your school requires you to take a health course during the fall of your freshman year since schools do require that. You decided to take that health class over the summer before the school year even starts, and you get it out of the way. That opens up the opportunity for you to take another class in your fall semester, like band. Since band is an elective, you’re already halfway there for the elective requirement for graduation.
Being halfway through your elective requirement allows you to take another elective your sophomore year to complete it. Once your requirement has been met, you don’t have to take another elective in your junior year and can take another class instead, like an AP course. If you pass the AP exam at the end of your junior year, you now have one freshman college credit and can take another AP course your senior year. If you pass that AP exam, you’re now two college credits into your college degree, and you haven’t even graduated yet. Since college is relatively expensive, the more you can get done without having to pay college tuition is better. Summer school was the key factor in getting that chain reaction started, and now you’ll have a few credits under your belt with a fraction of the effort put in compared to the actual college classes.
What is Summer School Like in High School?
Summer school is a lot like regular school in high school, except it’s during the summer. That means the semester length is shorter, and you may not have the same teachers you might have during the regular semesters. The school days may also be shorter because there are fewer classes that you’ll be taking. You only show up to school for the classes you have, and once you finish them, you’re allowed to leave and do whatever you want. It works a lot like college, except in college you don’t have to go to class if you don’t want to. You’re required to go to summer classes every weekday in high school, which equates to five days. Each of those days lasts around five hours, so if you get there at 8 AM, you’ll be out of there by 1 PM.
Realistically, the length of a semester and how long school days vary from state to state, so you’ll want to check that out before applying. You wouldn’t want to show up to school two hours late on the wrong day now, would you? Usually, schools will split the summer semester into two sessions, each lasting around three weeks. That means the whole summer semester comes out to around a month and a half long, so if you attend summer school, you’ll still get to enjoy some of your vacation.
Should You Take Summer Classes in High School?
If you’re wondering if you should take summer classes in high school, it really depends on your motivation level. You’re going to have to wake up early for school like usual, go to class like usual, and maybe watch your friends in envy as they get to go out and do fun stuff. Ultimately, the decision to go to summer school is in your hands, even if it was forced on you by the school. If it was forced on you by the school, it means that you’re doing bad and potentially even failing in some class or classes, so you have to retake it. The decision to do badly in those classes was in your hands, and the decision to improve and do better when retaking those classes is also in your hands.
If you don’t have to take summer classes and don’t want to, don’t. You won’t enjoy it, and you probably won’t be motivated enough to do well enough to justify going to class during the summer. But if you’re fired up enough to give yourself a jump start into the future, by all means, go for it. No harm ever came from voluntary enthusiastic study, and it’s unlikely that harm will ever come from it.
What are the Pros and Cons of Summer Classes?
If you haven’t noticed by now, there are a few pros and cons to summer classes. Here’s a quick list to summarize the more important ones.
- Teacher-student interactions
Because fewer students tend to take summer classes compared to the regular school year, the student-teacher ratio will be much smaller. That opens up the opportunity for you to engage in meaningful discussions with your teacher, which you should do. They’re paid to teach you, and with fewer students acting as a distraction, they can do their job better. If you don’t understand what they’re talking about, ask them for help. They can provide better help during the summer than they can during the fall or spring, so utilize that.
- Better schedule
Yeah, you’re going to have to still go to school like you do normally every morning during the summer. But don’t fret: you can go home earlier than you normally would. Summer school has a lighter schedule than regular school, so you won’t be staying till 3 PM like usual. That doesn’t change the fact that you’ll have to wake up before noon every morning, but at least you can have your afternoons and evenings free to do what you want.
- Catching up on courses
As stated in a previous section, summer school lets students who are failing or doing bad in a class retake that class to raise their grade point average. It’s a valuable thing to be able to do, so if you ever feel like you’re screwed because you didn’t do too hot on that last math test, and you happened to also fail the last three math tests, there is a chance. You can go show your mom your report card at the end of the summer and not be embarrassed or afraid for your social life.
- Getting ahead
Not everybody wants to go to college, but for those of you who do, getting ahead is nice. Again, as stated in a previous section, summer school lets you take courses that you wouldn’t normally take, and by doing so, you free up your schedule for other, more important courses that can give you college credits for passing the final exam. By the way, AP exams are the final exam in the class, so you won’t have to worry about having to take both a normal final exam and an AP exam in the same week.
- Hit or miss
Yes, teacher-student interactions are more frequent during summer school, but whether you’ll enjoy those interactions depends on how good your teacher is. If you find yourself with a bad teacher, you’re straight out of luck since you’re stuck with them for the rest of the summer session or the next three weeks. The same thing can happen with your classes. If you’re in a boring class and none of your friends are in it because they’re not in summer school, you better gear up for a long three weeks.
- It’s school in the summer
Like it or not, you’re still going to have to attend class during the summer. Sure, you can go home earlier, but you still have to wake up early and go to school. That means no staying up late past your typical school bedtime and no going out for brunch. The brunch part may not make sense to you in high school, but in college, it will.
Is Summer School Harder than Regular School?
The million-dollar question: Is summer school harder than regular school? It depends. If you’re taking the electives that were mentioned all those sections ago, it really isn’t that difficult. If you’re taking science and math courses, the answer is yes. Summer school is held at an accelerated rate compared to regular school because the semester is only a month and a half long. That means you’re going to be taking in half a year’s worth of content in only a fraction of the time. English and writing courses may be more doable since they tend to scale back on the number of essays you need to write or read, but science and math are definitively hard during the summer. Yes, they also scale back the number of exams you need to take, but they don’t scale back the amount of content those exams test you on.
You’re expected to learn the same amount of content as in the regular school year, but you get less than half the time to do it. And if you’re taking more than one of those classes during the summer, say goodbye to all your free time, since you’ll be studying for half the summer instead. There’s a reason why it’s recommended you only take one or two courses the entire summer, and that’s why. Just one course is still enough to get you ahead of the curve in terms of class credits though, so don’t sweat it too much if you suddenly don’t feel like summer school is the right choice for you.
Is Summer School Worth it in High School?
With all that in mind, summer school is worth it in high school, so long as you do it in moderation. The last thing you want to do is burn out at the finish line and fail the final exam, which means all that work you did has now been effectively washed down the drain. Just take a course or two at your own pace, but make sure that pace is fast enough to keep up with the pace of the class. You should know that it isn’t all bad: you don’t have to take both sessions. You can just take one three-week session and call it a semester since three weeks is the length of one class. The next session, you can take another class, or just take it easy and enjoy the three weeks off.
Wrapping Things Up: Is Summer School Hard in High School?
Again, how hard summer school is in high school is relative to yourself. If you want to make it hard, you can make it hard. If you want to make it easy or not take it in the first place, you can do that as well. Summer school is well worth the effort, but it’s easy to burn out and let your hard work go to waste halfway through the semester. Just pace yourself properly, and you’ll turn out just fine.