Extending the traditional academic year may be more beneficial than you think
Although summer break has begun, taking spring or summer courses can allow you to indulge in a personal interest course, and achieve a concurrent certificate or minor helping to advance your academic career
March 20 marked the first day of spring; the weather is becoming warmer and the sun is present for a longer time. For many, this beginning of spring symbolizes a fresh start. However, for university students this change in weather also signifies the end of an academic year.
Although this change is exciting as students can soon enjoy the wonderful weather without school commitment, extending the school year may not be as horrible as it sounds. By taking spring or summer courses, students are actually setting themselves up for various advantages.
Before I go on, I would like to clarify that when I mention prolonging the academic year, I do not mean taking courses such as CHEM 2OA3 (Organic Chemistry I) or STATS 2B03 (Statistical Methods for Science). These courses are usually taken to lighten a student’s courseload during the traditional academic year, or repeated to obtain a higher grade.
Instead, I mean taking courses that you find interesting or may help you achieve a minor or concurrent certificate. I am a strong advocate for summer or spring courses. I believe that each student should voluntarily enroll in one spring or summer course during their academic career. Personally, I took four courses during the non-traditional academic school year during my first year of university.
Although I did not receive a break between my first and second year due to the four courses engulfing my summer, I do not regret spring or summer courses. In fact, I am very excited to enroll this semester once again. I adore the feeling of walking to campus on a hot summer day and attending lectures within the cool buildings. In my opinion, there is no other feeling like studying in the library during the summer; the warm weather heightens the enjoyability of academics.
I tend to find that the academic year can take us away from enjoying our personal interest courses since we have other courses to balance simultaneously. Although university is where our time management skills are repeatedly tested through academics and extra-curricular, that does not mean we can perform adequately 100 per cent of the time. Taking courses over the spring/summer term is a common way to engage in personal interest courses without sacrificing the grades or the content.
Some programs have specific requirements which may make it difficult for students to complete a minor or concurrent certificate. However, the warmer months may allow students to catch up on requirements permitting them to achieve these academic aspects as they are free to take whatever is offered.
I am a student who enjoys planning to navigate the confusing realm of graduation requirements, especially since I would like to complete a minor or concurrent certificate. From experience, the spring or summer semester creates a wonderful opportunity to complete required courses that cannot be completed during the school year.
Some requirements may be reserved for students within their respective departments, and at other times they become full before your course enrollment time opens. In addition, since the summer months entail students participating in various aspects such as co-op, travelling or research opportunities, more spots are open over the summer to enroll in the courses missed during the traditional academic year.
Overall, you may be averse to the idea of extending the school year into the summer. However, the spring or summer term allows for you to indulge in smaller class sizes on a free campus while simultaneously allowing you to focus on both the grades and course material for classes you may not have been able to take otherwise.