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Summer school attendance is a growing trend among students south of the border. In New York, the largest school district in the U.S., it is expected that 32 percent of public school students will attend summer school, equating to more than 300,000 students. While similar data isn’t available to show how many Canadian public school students are hitting the books in the summer, our trends are often very close to our southern neighbour’s. Many university students are choosing to get a jump on their studies during the summer, too. In fact, a report indicates that more than 35 percent of respondents were taking at least one course during the summer months.School administrators suggest a number of possibilities for this jump in enrolment: the economy, increased competition among students, the threat of repeating a grade, tuition costs…the list goes on. Regardless of the reason, there are pros and cons to attending summer school, which should be discussed with students to ensure a decision that leads to success. Below are some pros and cons to summer school to share with students during summer enrolment.Pros
There are many benefits to summer school that can help students forge ahead. These include:

  • Smaller class sizes: Summer school classes tend to have fewer students. This allows for more individualized attention and the opportunity for teacher/student interaction. If you are aware that a student struggles in a certain subject or area, you may want to suggest summer school to provide the one-on-one focus they may need for success. Promote this valuable offering with flyers and banners in guidance counsellors’ offices, at after-school tutoring programs and in study halls.
  • Complete general coursework: Summer can be a great time to knock out prerequisites and general education requirements. Getting these courses out of the way during summer school frees up time for students to focus on core curriculum or major-related courses during the school year. Promote these basic classes and prerequisites as summer course options at registration events and orientations with giveaways, such as a Swanky Pen and lip balm. Don’t forget to imprint them with the URL for your summer class offerings.
  • Decreased class loads: Taking courses during the summer can also lessen class loads during the regular school year, affording students free time to study, add an internship or catch up on R&R. Imprint the message “Forge ahead with summer school” on a sports backpack and load it with class literature, a Soda Can Travel Tumbler, some microwave popcorn and a pack of gum. These summer-school survival kits can be given out to anyone enquiring about summer classes.

Of course, with the pros come the cons. Summer school isn’t for everyone. Here are some reasons why:

  • Accelerated pace: The condensed, accelerated pace that many summer courses follow can prove difficult for some students. To be successful, students should be aware that summer courses generally meet multiple hours a day, five days a week, and that they have daily homework.
  • Less variety: During the regular school year, students may have a larger variety of class options to fulfill particular requirements. In summer school, this isn’t always the case—students will likely be limited to a few class choices.
  • No summer break: Some may say that summer school keeps students in the rhythm of going to class, studying and learning. Others would argue that summer is the perfect time for a break. If you have students who are feeling the burn, summer school may not be for them.

The benefits of summer school can be great, but it is important to discuss all angles with students as they contemplate their course schedules. Providing a balanced view of both the pros and cons can help students make decisions that lead them to success, regardless of the season.

Durand, Maria F. “More Students Forced to Take Summer School.” ABC News. ABC News Network, n.d. Web. Retrieved 14 Jan. 2014.

Lambert, J., and Usher, A.  “Making the Most of It: Canadian Student Employment in Summer 2012.” Higher Education Strategy Associates. Web. Retrieved 24 Jan. 2014.

Thinking About Summer School? Pros and Cons.” U.S. News University Directory. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 14 Jan. 2014.

Allan, Laura. “The Pros and Cons of Taking Summer Classes.” Education-Portal.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 14 Jan. 2014.

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