Should You Take a Winter Session Course?

Should You Take a Winter Session Course?
  • Opening Intro -

    The fall semester will be ending within the next few weeks at colleges and universities across America.

    Schools that have trimesters may take a short break for the holidays and resume classes shortly after New Year's Day.

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Quick credits for students!

Mostly everyone looks forward to Christmas break, which offers up to 5 weeks of doing something other than studying. A number of higher education institutions are mixing things up, by offering an inter-session or winter session right after Christmas or New Year’s Day and ending just before the spring semester begins.

Should you take a winter session course? If so, what can you expect if you take such a class? Winter sessions vary among schools that offer them, but there are some similarities across the board:

Compact and intensive

— Winter sessions typically last for three weeks or less, and are sometimes completed in as little as two weeks. That’s a lot of work that has to be done in a short timeframe, as the usual semester lasts for 15 weeks. Expect every class to count, with you meeting daily for three hours with your instructor and classmates.

Same amount of credits

— If your school offers 3 credits per course, the one class you can take in winter session will offer the same amount of credits. Don’t look for a break in work load either. Daily assignments, frequent testing and a term paper are common. You’ll be so busy for several weeks that you won’t have much time for friends, family or fun.

Limited class availability

— Not too many professors want to undertake an intensive winter session, thereby limiting the number and variety of courses available. Some schools, however, buck that trend and are able to make winter session a big deal. For example, Stony Brook University offers more than 100 courses in 20 subject areas. This school’s winter session lasts for three weeks and gives students the opportunity to take one class leading to three college credits.

Odd scheduling possible

— How would you like to begin your winter session the day after Christmas? Or, even before Christmas? The winter session at Rutgers University begins on December 23 and ends on January 13. With Christmas (2011) arriving on a Sunday, the holiday festivities — if you celebrate them — take place over the weekend. You’ll be expected to be back in the class room promptly on Dec. 26 or, if you are taking a hybrid class, you may be able to do some of your work remotely.

Open to the community

— Expect to pay the going rate per credit for your winter session classes. Some schools, including San Jose State University, allow for students from other schools and adult members of the community to take courses too. You don’t have to apply to be accepted by SJSU; you may have to pay a fee for transcripts if you need to forward same to your school.

Winter session appeals to some students, particularly to those wanting to knock out a class before the spring semester returns. Also, some classes offered during winter session may not be available at any other time of the year, allowing for students to take a desired elective and complete that course quickly.

College Campus reference:

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