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Although there are 104 days of summer vacation, summer school can come along early and end it — much to your disappointment and that of Phineas and Ferb. However, summer school can ease your load for the upcoming semester and help you graduate on time. Here are some Aggie summer school essentials and hacks to help you make the most of it.
1. Different Term Lengths
Texas A&M University offers multiple options for summer school length: the entire summer semester (June – early August), first Summer Session (~June), second summer session (~July).
Remember that the entire summer semester is already shorter than a typical academic semester. Similarly, if you only take a class for the first or second summer session, that means it is even more compact! Remember this when registering for classes. For these shorter summer terms, be prepared to cover a chapter in a day instead of a week; you will fly though the material since you only have about five weeks to cover it all. I registered for two STEM classes during just the first summer semester to save the other half of the summer for myself, and it was a huge mistake. After frantically trying to not sink academically, I had to drop a class and retake it during the second summer session.
2. Consider community college
Having credits transferred from a community college can save money while completing classes. Just remember that if you want to take community college classes, you need to get into the college first. Note those application deadlines. Be aware that not all classes transfer from community college back to Texas A&M, so check the course transfer site before you apply. Always talk to your academic advisor first because even though the class may transfer, some programs do not accept transfer credit.
One note about taking community college classes is that the transfer credit will count toward your degree but not your GPA. This can be either good or bad depending on how you look at it. If you decide to take an easy course that transfers, you can rob yourself of an easy “A.” However, if you take a notoriously hard Texas A&M class at community college, you may be able to dodge a bullet.
3. Summer tutoring
Texas A&M’s Tutor Hub is also available during the summer. I was able to login and speak with a peer tutor online which was invaluable, especially since I was taking STAT 211 and PHYS 207. I cannot recommend their help sessions enough. Need help with math? The Math Learning Center also offers math-specific help during the summer.
4. Summer abroad
Bummed about going back to school for summer? Why not take an international vacation instead? Education Abroad offers multiple opportunities to take summer courses internationally through a faculty-led program. These programs last about a month, and a Texas A&M engineering professor will travel with all of his/her students to teach the course in a foreign country. Not only will you learn about engineering, but these programs have built in time to explore and travel. Obviously, there are extra costs involved, but there are scholarships specifically for these programs.
Use these hacks to help you persevere in summer school, but also remember to enjoy your summer. You can find creative ways to make studying fun by putting a summer twist on it. Try doing homework outside by the pool, or head out to one of your favorite hometown spots with WiFi and attend class from there. At the end of the day, you are here for that engineering degree, and when you walk across the graduation stage, you will remember that summer school was worth it.