Should you consider ditching the sun for the classroom?

Students wait in line at the admissions office to sign up for courses

/ Colby Gallagher

When kids think of summer the last thing they think of is going to school, but is giving up a tan for a classroom beneficial?

"It helps you get ahead of the curve a little bit, you can get some courses out of the way," said Mike Miller, the Vice President of Enrollment Services at Albany State.

Albany Tech's Executive Vice President of Student Affairs, Pamela Heglar, agreed.

"That's the primary benefit, I think, that it allows the students to go straight through and get to employment as quick as possible."

In today's economy with jobs few and far between, getting ahead might not be a bad idea. Workforce Development Colleges, like Albany Tech, actually encourage students to take courses 12 months out of the year.

"We try to program our curriculum so that students see summer as essential. We don't look at summer as optional," said Heglar.

Colleges and universities that offer bachelor's degrees leave the option open but want students to seriously consider the long-term benefits.

"Sometimes you may find that down the road a few years from now you may know that because I took summer semester and continued down that course, I have the freedom to take classes when I need to," said Tracy Goode, the Dean of Institutional Advancement at Darton College.

While schools are quick to point out the pros in enrolling in summer courses, they understand that every student's situation is different and there may be some cons involved.

"They are a lot quicker, they're more condensed, so sometimes people find it a little more difficult to study the same amount of coursework in a shorter amount of time," said Goode.

"One of the other cons is if you're taking several courses you probably don't have time for work," said Miller.

No matter what college, one of the biggest factors in deciding when to take your courses is financial aid.

With the Pell Grant recently changed to offer money for only two semesters a year and strict minimum credit requirements to receive financial aid, summer courses are a commitment that should be thought over carefully.

If you're thinking of enrolling for summer courses in the future, contact your college or university's admissions office for all the necessary facts and figures.