This is a question that we get all the time from parents and students: does taking a summer course help improve one’s chances of admission to selective universities? This question is partially a response to the ever-increasing number of summer courses available to students. In this article we break down the pros and cons of taking summer courses from a college admissions point of view.
1. What types of summer courses are out there?
Before we answer whether or not a student should take summer courses we should clarify what types of summer courses are available. First, there are summer courses that are offered by high schools and tutoring agencies. These courses are generally geared toward students that are falling behind or need extra help. Second, many colleges and universities in the United States (and elsewhere) offer summer courses for accelerated students.
2. Can summer courses help improve my GPA?
Absolutely. Courses offered by high schools and tutoring agencies are great opportunities for struggling students to boost their GPA. These courses will help students fill gaps in their education to ensure that they succeed in their fall courses. Summer courses offered by universities may also be helpful by giving advanced students an opportunity to learn new material long before their schools actually teach it.
3. Summer is about to start and I don’t have anything planned. What should I do?
Summer courses are a great option if you’re looking for a last minute activity to fill your summer. While the most competitive summer courses have admissions timelines that end by Feb-April, there are certainly many other programs that offer rolling admissions until 1-2 weeks before the start date. If you haven’t been so proactive in your summer planning then a summer course may be a good option for you.
4. What looks better for college, a summer course or an internship?
This is a difficult question to answer. US universities embrace a holistic admissions process that encourages students to gain practical experience and leadership skills. That being said, grades are still very important. If your grades are sub-par then your energies may be best put towards a summer course that can help you rebound next year. However, if your grades are already strong then you will likely want to diversify your resume through extracurriculars and practical experiences. A summer course, in that case, may not be worth your time.
5. When is the best time to take a summer course?
Courses offered by your school and/or tutoring agencies are good for students to take at any point in their high school career since grades are always important. However, university-offered summer courses are probably best for underclassmen who still have a few years before college begins. Taking university summer courses early gives students an opportunity to get ahead in their classwork but also frees up their junior-senior summer for an internship or research experience.
Still have questions?
Feel free to reach out to Aegis Advisors today for more in-depth and personalized answers to your summer course and college admissions questions. Our experienced tutors and advisors are experts on the college admissions process with a proven 14-year track record.