Winter break is for kicking back and sleeping in, right? After a grueling semester-long internship, the last thing you are thinking about is more classes. But there are plenty of reasons to study up and take advantage of this time.
Here’s the pros and cons of taking winter term classes.
Enjoy an accelerated agenda
- Catch up or move ahead in your studies so you so you graduate earlier
- Finishing early saves you the cost of tuition, housing and meals
- Prepare your skills for an upcoming summer internship
- Take a class you normally wouldn’t
- Avoid those awkward family dinners
- Possible burnout from overwork and too much pressure
- Less vacation time with friends and family
- Course choice is less varied
Winter term is short and intense
If you think your winter vacation seems too short, winter courses often feel even shorter. Classes are usually just 2 – 3 weeks long. Because of this time crunch, courses are brief and compressed into longer days and intense studying.
You will also find that the variety of classes is more limited than a typical semester and the number of credits that you can earn over winter break is restricted. You’ll learn a lot in a short time, but be up for doing the work.
You might enjoy taking a class in something you would never take otherwise. Remember how Steve Job’s was forever changed by a typography class he stumbled into?
Compressed class length
- You’ll get it over with faster
- Class length is shorter
- Class size is smaller
- More personal attention
- The work is more intense
- There’s less time to study
- You need to be a speed-learner
- Choice of courses is more limited
Since courses are compressed into just a few weeks, the intensity of the work increases.
Winter classes are not for those who need a lot of time to process the work.
Over winter break, faculty also takes time off, so there are fewer courses offered. Know what credits you’re looking for and get in there early, as it may be more difficult to find a class that fits your curriculum.
If you find that there’s a class that you really want (or need) to take during winter term, but it doesn’t appear to be offered, contact your academic adviser. Ask if they can help you find a similar course offering. Sometimes, with departmental permission, they may allow you to fulfill a prerequisite or academic requirement by taking a class similar to the one that is listed as a “must” take.
Other ways to study over winter break:
For the disciplined among you, this is a great option. You can work on your own time, anywhere and earn credits.
Look into and coordinate independent study options that offer credit. Talk to your faculty adviser. Share your specific ideas, interests and goals with them, and together you will be able to come up with the perfect opportunity for both your academic and career track.
Winter study abroad programs are wonderful opportunities for students to travel and earn study credits while experiencing life in a different culture.
Nothing beats experiential learning!
What that means is you learn on the job. Real life experience is a great teacher. It is a super resume builder, and some internships will give you academic credit.
Nobody wants to think about giving up that coveted winter vacation, but winter term can offer significant benefits to you in just a few short weeks. It’s not for everyone though. For those who want to put in that extra push, it’s a great way to efficiently and effectively accumulate credits.
So, why not make the most out of your winter vacation this year, and turn it into a unique and educational opportunity. Enjoy the campus when it’s less crowded and the snow falls.
If you’re ready to learn, work hard and advance, winter term may just be as good as hot chocolate after a snowball fight for you.