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Taking ​College Classes in the Summer

Last updated September 30, 2020

Taking college classes in the summer is a great way to tackle non-major courses and to shorten the amount of time in school. Summer classes can also be a great way to ease into college, before Fall semester/quarter. You can also retake classes that you may have received a less than favorable or non-passing grade in.

Taking summer college classes can help you ease into college.

Some 4-year schools offer a summer program to help newly admitted students adjust to the new campus, learn how to study for college classes, and meet new people. Ask your advisor if a program exists and if there isn’t, ask about courses that you can take to “dip your toes” into the college experience before Fall semester/quarter.

If you are a student returning to school after a period of time away, taking a college class in the summer is a great way to ease into the mindset of going to school. Take one or two courses and use the time on campus to learn about the different processes (registration, advising, financial aid, borrowing/renting books) and the services available to you (learning center, health, fitness, etc).

Check when summer classes start and finish.

Take note of these dates and any conflicts with your schedule. Most likely, summer classes will have a shortened schedule compared to classes in Fall Semester/Quarter, but with the expectation of learning the same amount of information. If you will be working, speak with your employer and determine if there are any expectations for you to work more during the summer.

Determine the fees, tuition and how to pay.

Visit the Financial Aid Office to discuss your financial status and what steps, if any, you need to take to receive financial aid in the summer. Ask about any grants or scholarships that are reserved for summer classes. Read, How to pay for summer classes, for other options

Student on computer taking college classes in the summer

Tips on selecting classes:

  • Do research on what classes you'd like to take and if they are available in the summer.
  • Make an appointment with your advisor to assess the workload and discuss alternative classes, in case the class reaches full capacity.
  • There may be classes you need to take to prepare you for higher level classes (these are called prerequisites). In addition, some classes are only available to you if you are in a specific major.
  • Have a list of alternative classes in case you are waitlisted.

Register for classes.

After you’ve done your research and solidified a plan to pay for classes, register. Set an alarm to register on the first day of registration to secure your spot in class. If you end up on a waitlist, register for your alternative classes.

Learn How to register for college classes.


This article was originally written for our work with California State University - Dominguez Hills in Charge On! For links originally linked, CSUDH students may find these helpful:

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