5 Steps to Succeed in a Fast-Paced Summer Class


Caution: Assignments in photo seem more stressful than they appear.

Caution: Assignments in photo seem more stressful than they appear.

I’m an English professor, so I have experience not just teaching fast-paced classes but TAKING fast-paced classes. Many students sign up for these classes because they are busy and want to work through the summers to get his or her degree as quickly as possible. While summer classes can’t go into the depth that a semester-long class can, it can be easy to fall behind and make a bad grade. Here are 5 steps to keep up and succeed in a summer class.

1. Don’t skim the syllabus. A syllabus is an agreement between the instructor and the student, and if a professor means business about something, they’ll put it in the syllabus to prove it. Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for and what class policies are deal breakers. If you planned something that will cause you to miss class, and your instructor has a strict attendance policy, you could shoot yourself in the foot before you’ve even started.

2. Don’t miss and don’t be late. Keep in mind your instructor has the task of cramming an entire semester of work into just a few weeks so chances are she plans to hit the ground running. Many professors give quizzes at the beginning of the class and since it’s a summer class, each quiz counts.

3. Don’t tune out. If you ever needed to be engaged in class, the time is now. Take good notes and pay close attention. If your instructor takes the time to repeat something, write it down. You’ll see it again–most likely on a quiz or test.

4. Let your family know that you’re taking a summer class. It’s important to let them know that it will be time consuming and you won’t have as much time for extracurricular activities for a few weeks. This goes for relatives and family get-togethers, but if you have smaller kids, they probably won’t understand so you’ll have to carve some family time out of each day or they will feel neglected.

5. Take a deep breath. The stressful thing about summer classes is that they are so short, but the great thing about summer classes: they are short. It will be over before you know it and you can work on that tan!

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