Hi, I am a junior in high school this year. I am thinking about signing up to take three summer classes through my local community college. I do work over the summer and am looking for advice on whether this may be too much (I only work about 4-6 hours a day, and it’s not every day). The course I plan on taking are listed below and are all online classes.
-ENG 111 Writing & Inquiry (3 credits)
-COM 231 Public Speaking (3 credits)
-SPA 111 Elementary Spanish I (3 credits)
The summer semester for our local community college is 10 weeks long from May 18th to July 28th.
Taking 3 summer classes is basically equivalent to a full-time job, presuming that you are going to take the time to do well in each one. The semester is compressed into 2/3 the time of a normal semester, so each class takes up more time each week, and your assignments and studying will likewise be compressed. You also have about a half-time job, so you will be working the equivalent to at least time-and-a-half for the 10 weeks of your summer semester.
This sounds like a bad idea for you, someone who, regardless of your skills, experience and abilities, are not used to taking college courses (much less compressed ones). If I were you, I would only take two of those three courses. Either that, or substantially cut back on the hours you are working at your job.
Taking just one or maybe two might be a better idea. For every hour you spend in class in college, you should expect to spend 2-3 on the material outside of class. Add in the time you spend on your part time job, then budget some time to get started on college essays. If you have any other goals for your time or simply want to spend time relaxing and catching up with friends, you are going to find yourself pretty booked up. Don’t overload yourself so much that you risk burning out senior year.
It is important that you do well in these concurrent enrollment classes. My state, for example, will disqualify you for financial aid at its 4-year public colleges if you get below a certain GPA. Grades earned in college, even as a concurrent enrollee, will follow you to graduate or medical school. And you must send this college transcripts to all four-year schools to which you apply.
Finally, make sure you price things out. Our community college charges about $500 for one summer class. It is a possible bargain IF the credits transfer, but there is risk involved since you don’t actually know for sure where you will attend 4-year college or if you will do well enough in the class for the transfer of credits to get approval. Have a good understanding what you really want out of this experience. Consider too that there are plenty of summer activities that colleges welcome on an application that cost less than $500+.