Summer School Isn’t Scary

Posted by Megan on April 15, 2015

Journey to the Centre of York

An image of fish from spongebob, sitting at desks with bored faces. One fish flops his head down on the desk.
This was me in high-school summer school. Image Source.

When I was a student in high school, I remember dreading the very idea of summer school. I only went once, to upgrade a physics mark, but I just recall feeling like a failure, judged, because if I had just done well enough the first time I wouldn’t have had to give up part of my summer. A certain stigma seemed attached to summer school, at least in my home town, and instead of seeing it as an opportunity to improve my education, summer school was something to avoid. I’ve learned a lot since then and realized that this kind of thinking is neither helpful nor practical. As a result, I have had the pleasure of enjoying many summer school courses, once to upgrade a mark, other times for reasons I will highlight below. The point is . . .

Summer school isn’t scary!

Summer school at university differs slightly from the summer school you might be familiar with. For one, it’s entirely optional. You also generally have a wide range of offerings from different departments which are offered during the regular school hours – just like in the regular school year you can have classes any time from early morning to later in the evening. There are also three different summer semesters. Some courses are offered in only one, while others might be offered in more than one. The three semesters are: S1, which runs from May to mid-June; S2, which runs from mid-June to the end of July; and SU, which runs from May until the beginning of August. The exact dates can be found on the Registrar’s website.

Wait, summer school can be advantageous?

Absolutely! For one, attending summer school is a great way to relieve stress. Really? Many students choose to take 30 credits (what is considered to be 100% of a course load) from September to April. Other students choose to reduce this amount and make up the difference in the summer. For students who don’t have to worry about future specialized programs such as medical school (which often has a full course load pre-requisite for admission), this is a great way to find a healthier school-life balance – allowing students more time to work, get active on campus and enjoy a richer social life.

Other students use summer school advantageously to fast-track their degree. While students can generally take up to 36 credits during the school year, summer school allows up to an additional 18 credits, so that students can potentially reduce the time it takes to complete a 4-year Honours degree to 2.5 or 3 years. Best of all, many of the great resources that York offers during the main school year between September and April are also available during the summer, such as Learning Skills Services (which offers a number of great workshops) and Bethune SOS.

Other great reasons to enjoy summer school


Doesn't this just look gorgeous? I spy a cherry blossom in the background! Photo credit: Sunera Ali.
Doesn’t this just look gorgeous? I spy cherry blossoms in the background 🙂 Photo credit: Sunera Ali.
  • Have you seen campus during the summer? It’s beautiful, easily the best time of year to enjoy it. All of the plants are in bloom, the grass is green and the friendly campus groundhogs are happily roaming around.
  • No snow. No bone-chilling cold. Which means you can really enjoy the natural areas on campus. Lunchtime picnic in the quad? You’ve got it!
  • Reduced campus population. Campus is not nearly as busy during the summer, which means that hallway traffic jams are a rarity and it’s much quicker to get around.
  • Summer school, depending on your course load, will NOT take up your whole summer. You will likely have more than enough time to take a course or two, work part time and still enjoy your summer in a traditional sense.

If you are interested in attending summer school this year, make sure to enrol soon. You can check your enrolment window online, keeping in mind that the first summer courses start on May 4. Have any other questions about summer school? Feel free to tweet us @yorkustudents or comment below!


Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

See other posts by Megan