Recently I was talking to Maddie, a fellow Falcon buzzer and good friend. We are inhabiting the land of full time work this summer, as many undergrad students do with their “time off.” For some students, it’s the difference between supporting themselves throughout the semester or attending college at all. So we are both thankful for spending our sunny days indoors, answering phones and emails.
Maddie Laliberte, a rising sophomore, took two summer classes during session one, which starts roughly one week after the spring semester ends. While Maddie chose online classes, summer sessions can be online, classroom, or a hybrid mixture of both. She wanted to take advantage of still being in “college mode.” I know how she feels, having taken a winter class before. Those are exclusively online and usually run for three weeks, one week shorter than summer courses. Squeezing three credits of work into such a short time is not easy, but the professors teaching these courses are helpful and accessible via email. “If I ran into issues, I was able to email my professors and exchange ideas and problems with them,” Maddie said.
When I did an extra psychology class for my minor online in January 2016, I’d seriously underestimated the amount of work I’d be doing. I did very well by the course’s end, but the first week was stressful because I’d given myself just a single day to complete the assignments. There was a lot of independent reading, like any online class, and it helped me prepare for the winter session class I’d take later. Online classes give you the flexibility to choose your own pace week-to-week without having to meet the structure of in-class sessions.
Maddie was pretty nervous about taking summer classes at first. “I wondered what would happen if I had questions. Would the professors understand them? Would they be able to help at all?” She was pleasantly surprised with the result. “As long as I dedicated a few hours to it everyday, I did fine.”
Summer and winter classes are definitely a great way to challenge yourself to manage your time well, and staying in college mode a little longer in between semesters is a useful perk. Getting a little ahead or back on track, if that’s the case, is worth it in the long run. Maddie recently changed her major and her new advisor suggested taking a few extra courses in order to still graduate on time. She’ll probably end up doing more summer/winter classes in order to bring some of her semester courseloads down to 4 classes.
You do pay a fee to take summer or winter courses but there’s a lot to choose from. You’re able to register for summer classes when registration opens for the fall (usually in April), and you’re able to register for winter classes when registration opens for the spring (usually in October).
The seats list includes a full year so it’s easy to look ahead! Make sure to check the Graduate and Continuing Education (GCE) lists for fall and spring as well! All of these classes are offered by Fitchburg State and are often compatible with your undergrad degree evaluation. Check with your advisor for more information, or connect with GCE at 978-665-3660, or visit them in the Anthony Student Service building if you'd like to learn more about these sessions.