Every year, thousands of students attend summer school. For some, summer school is a chance to get ahead. For others, it's a chance to make up a class they missed or failed. Either way, choosing a summer school is important. Consider the following points before you choose a summer school.
- Curriculum. This is probably the most important point to consider when choosing a summer school. Schools' curriculum can vary widely, and you'll want to choose the school that offers the courses you need or want. For a student needing to repeat a course, choosing a school that offers that course or courses is essential if that student wants to get back on the academic track. Others who want to get ahead in their academic career should choose summer schools which offer a variety of courses, especially in advanced subjects, such as Advanced Placement English, Calculus II, or even Latin.
- Faculty. During the regular school year, courses taught by popular teachers fill up rapidly, limiting the amount of students who can take that instructor. However, if an excellent teacher also teaches summer school, the chances of having him or her as an instructor are greatly improved. Sometimes, adjunct educators are hired to teach special courses. For example, a teacher from Africa may be hired to teach African dance, which is only available in the summer. A visiting professor from England may work as an adjunct professor on a school's campus for the summer, teaching an in-depth literature class. In these cases, summer school not only offers students a chance for advancement, but it also offers them opportunities they might not receive during the regular academic year.
- Class Size. In most cases, summer school class sizes are much smaller than typical classes. Smaller classes offer students more opportunity for one-on-one instruction. For a student who needs to repeat or make up a core or required class, the individual instruction is an added bonus. For students trying to get ahead, smaller classes could mean more in-depth discussions, additional experiments, or extra lab time.
- Academic Credit. Before you decide on a summer school, be sure you understand what type of academic credit you'll be receiving. Will the class you take be a full credit or only half a credit? If a second half will be needed for a full credit, will you be able to take it in the summer, or will it be offered during the regular school year? If you are attending a summer school that is in a different district from your regular school, will you be allowed to transfer that credit to your permanent academic record? It is imperative that you find out this information before you begin taking a course!
- Hours of Attendance. Some summer schools offer morning classes only, while others may offer students a choice of morning, afternoon, or night. Look for classes that will fit into your summer schedule. If you have a job or have limited means of transportation, be sure you are able to attend the school of your choice before you commit.
- Costs. Almost all summer schools, including public schools, charge some type of tuition. In many cases, public schools may offer free or reduced tuition to those families who cannot afford to pay. As you consider which summer school to attend, be sure and check with each school's financial officer or the main office for information regarding tuition costs. For some classes, additional fees may also be charged, relating to workbooks, labs, supplies, etc. If you are trying to fit summer school into your budget, be sure you find out all of the extra expenses before you commit to a specific school.