The Good & the Bad of Intersession Courses

The Good & the Bad of Intersession Courses
  • Opening Intro -

    As colleges and universities wrap up the fall semester, the spring semester will kick in about four to six weeks later.

    During that lull, some institutions offer winter or "intersession" classes ...


During that lull, some institutions offer winter or “intersession” classes, typically lasting no more than three weeks, but packing in a full semester worth of instruction and learning. Intersession has its good and bad points; here’s what you need to know about them and the courses offered.

Time is of the essence — If your college offers intersession, classes typically start on Jan. 2 and may run for about three weeks. Some colleges start promptly the day after Christmas to get the courses out of the way well before the spring semester begins. The good news here is that you’ll finish your class fast. The bad side is that your holiday season may be compromised as you seek to earn three credits.

Classes offered are spotty — Don’t expect to find many of your required courses available during intersession. It can be difficult to take a 15-week class and squeeze it down to three weeks. Instead, you will generally find various electives that might fill the bill. The good news here is that you can take an optional class without spending a semester completing it. The bad news is that you won’t get a break for three weeks — classes tend to be at least three hours long, are held every day, with homework given out nightly.

Meet your graduation requirements — One big advantage in taking an intersession class is that it can put you back on track to finish with your graduating class. You may lack one course that cannot be taken in the spring, but if it is taken during intersession it may help you graduate with your class. Moreover, you may be able to avoid taking a summer class that tends to last twice as long and eats up your summer break.

Classes may be online — Not all colleges and universities require students to set foot on campus for every course. Indeed, Shaw University holds its two intersessions online only. Save time, reduce your travel costs and get your work done from a location that is entirely suited to you.

You still pay for textbooks — Although the course is short, you will still need to pay for textbooks. One way to avoid or lower that cost is to rent your textbook for the intersession. Or, perhaps share your book with another student. You should also learn if your course is covered under your financial aid. In some cases, aid is for fall and spring semester courses only, not for intersession or summer courses.

The cost is the same — Don’t expect a financial break for taking an intersession course. If you are used to pay “X” amount for each credit during the rest of the academic year, that cost will remain the same. You can also expect to pay related fees. And if you live in a dorm during intersession you will pay for room and board.

Intersession Considerations

Some institutions, such as Kansas State University offer intersession courses in May and August as well. Classes last from one to three weeks and can help you reach your academic goals. Intersession isn’t right for everyone, but it could fill a need in your schedule, enabling you to learn what you want in the shortest amount of time.

See AlsoShould You Take a Winter Session Course?


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Categories: Academics