Tuesday, January 08, 2013 at 12am

Summer School: A Valid Option?

Summer School: A Valid Option? main image

Along with the New Year comes all the planning and challenges of keeping up new year’s resolutions. A common one is joining the gym. In January and February the gym is always full of people; come March the numbers start dwindling, and the further down the line you go, the fewer the numbers. I too am guilty of this.

One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to do a part-time course in Asian art history. During my research into courses, one option kept popping up: summer school. While in school I had a few friends who had gone, and on their return they were waxing lyrical about the experience, so I thought, could this be the right option for me?

Reasons to attend summer school:

1. For those of you who are not sure about university, summer school will give you a useful taster of attending lectures and seminars. You don’t miss out on the social aspect either, with nights out and various extracurricular activities often organized as part of the course. Meeting and interacting with undergraduates is also a plus point, and will let you get a real feel for the university and what it has to offer.

2. Attending summer school paints your university application in a favorable light. It shows commitment and dedication to the degree you want to undertake. Institutions across the globe award credits for summer school, so do some research if you intend to use summer school as a stepping stone.

3. It gives you better idea of what you want to study at university. Quite often we choose courses that our parents want us to take or subjects that we get good grades for in school, ignoring what we actually have a passion for. This can create quite a dilemma for a student looking to make a balanced decision. At summer school you will be given a choice of courses, without having to commit to three or more years of study.

4. Courses are often taught by faculty at the university and at the same level as full-time courses.

5. As an international student, it gives you a feel of what it would be like to study abroad in a particular location; a potentially invaluable piece of research.

6. Meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures is part of the experience. You can make friends from different parts of the world, or for the more business minded, it is great for networking. Summer school is not just for prospective undergraduates - postgraduates and professionals can also apply. The combination of all three provides for a great learning environment for all.

Keep in mind:

1. Do some research. Though it is only for a summer, it is important to find one which is strong in the subject you’re considering.

2. Applications generally open at the end of January/February so keep your eye out and don't leave it too late!

3. Check the language requirements.

Read about one student's experience of summer school in South Korea >

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