Now that we’re in March and the Summer 2019 course schedules are available, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about summer – summer courses, that is. As someone who has taken quite a few summer courses during their time at York University, I am here to help you consider whether or not to take on a summer course load in 2019!
As always, if you are unsure about taking summer courses, or which courses to take, you should speak with your Faculty’s Academic Advisor.
Note: Each Faculty has different limits for the number of credits you can take during the summer session. Please confirm your Faculty’s guidelines before enrolling in any Summer courses.
How Are Summer Courses Organized?
Before we go into our pros and cons list, we need to break down how summer courses are organized. Summer courses are separated into three main terms: S1 (end of April to mid-June), S2 (mid-July to early-August) and SU (spanning both periods). It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re selecting your courses, because the S1 and S2 terms offer accelerated courses over an 8-week period instead of the 12 weeks we’re used to in the Fall/Winter terms. If you find that your learning style needs the full 12 weeks, then you may want to stick to SU courses.
Another thing to consider is the number of credits you want to take! Courses with a higher credit value may meet on a condensed schedule with multiple classes per week. Before you sign up for the course, consider how you will manage your time to handle the schedule and pace.
Success Tip: Organize your Summer courses to best suit your schedule – if you know that you’re going to be very busy in July and August, take Summer courses in the S1 term.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Summer Courses?
One of the most important things to keep in mind when making your decision is whether or not summer courses work best for you. In addition to speaking with your Academic Advisor, take a look at the pros and cons outlined below to help you make your choice!
1. Help balance your Fall/Winter schedule
If you prefer to take four courses instead of five during the fall/winter session, you can take a few classes ahead of time to help balance out your schedule.
Balancing out your schedule this way will also help you stay on track with your credits!
2. Solve a course conflict
If you had to choose between courses in the previous academic session due to a course conflict, you may be able to take the one in the summer. You can also talk to an Academic Advisor to see if there will be any course conflicts in the upcoming fall/winter academic session and solve a conflict in advance.
3. Take a class online and go home for the summer
If you don’t call Toronto home during the summer, taking online summer courses is a great way to keep up with your studies and still go home! You can also earn credits while keeping flexible hours for your summer job by taking an online class.
4. Reach ahead
If you’re like me and require more than 120 credits to graduate, summer courses are a fantastic way to get a head start and stay on (or ahead) of schedule! Also, if you need to a few more credits to graduate, summer courses are a great opportunity to finish your degree and graduate in October.
5. Take a prerequisite
A lot of upper-year classes require prerequisites, but if you don’t have a lot of space in your Fall/Winter schedule, they can be hard to fit in. Summer courses offer another way for you to take your prerequisites before the next Fall/Winter session. Look at past course listings and/or talk with your Academic Advisor to make sure you have all of your prerequisites.
1. Accelerated timeframe
Compared to our typical fall/winter courses, summer courses during the S1 and S2 terms are about four weeks shorter. As a result, coursework can feel heavier, since students are given the same amount of material on an accelerated timeframe.
Thankfully, there’s a simple fix: if you prefer a 12-week schedule, select a course in the SU term. Since the SU term runs from May to August, it’s the same length as our fall and winter terms!
2. Fewer course listings
Although York U offers a wide scope of summer courses, they do not offer the same number of courses in the summer session as they do in the Fall/Winter session.
However, if you plan which courses to take during the fall/winter session and talk to an Academic Advisor to learn which classes are available in the summer session, you can still take advantage of the pros listed above!
3. Balancing work, school and daily life
This is probably one of the trickiest parts of summer courses—finding a balance between work, school and daily life.
If you know that you’ll have a heavier social calendar or will be working full-time, consider taking only one course during the summer, rather than two or three. You can also be selective about the academic session – if your May and June months are lighter, try a course in the S1 term!
Everyone’s schedule preferences are different, so make sure that you pick the courses that work best for you. Search the York Courses Website to find out what options are available and take the opportunity to learn more about what Summer courses can offer!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or tweet us @YorkUStudents.