The Benefits of Getting Ahead on Classes

By: Taylor Feinman

When I sent in my application to Penn State, I included that I would be interested in attending summer session, so I wasn’t surprised when I read on my application that I was accepted to attend summer session 2016; however, I was extremely nervous.

Attending Penn State for summer session meant that I had to start college earlier than all of my friends would, and I didn’t know if I would be ready. I was also nervous to take my first college classes, and if I would be able to handle them. I decided to sign up for a LEAP program, which is a schedule of 2 classes, 5 days a week with the same classmates; my classes were English 15 and CAS 100A (public speaking.)

I worked really hard all summer, completed both classes with good grades, and was already ahead on 6 credits and adjusted to life at college. I continued on to freshman year, and took the normal course load of 15 credits per semester. When the next summer rolled around, I decided to look into taking another class.

I live about 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia, and the Penn State Brandywine branch campus is about 20 minutes from my house. I looked into taking STAT 200 there, and it worked out that I would be able to. That was another 4 credits I got out of the way during a summer, and now I’m in my first semester sophomore year taking 15 more credits, so I am currently pretty ahead. I was even able to declare my major a semester early.

Since I was able to get so many credits completed during the summers, I also had room to explore minors. In addition to my public relations major, I decided to take on a Business & Liberal Arts minor, as well as a Global & International Studies minor as part of going abroad. I’m also in the process of earning a certificate from the Smeal College of Business by taking extra business classes.

While making my schedule with my advisor for next semester, I expressed that I wanted to take accounting 211 online this summer so I could focus on it, do well, and get it out of the way. We then pretty much planned out my schedule for the rest of my semesters at Penn State, including a semester of going abroad, and she said if I wanted to that I could graduate early.

I’m not sure that I’d want to graduate a semester early, because who would ever want to leave Penn State before they had to? But having the option was a huge weight lifted from my shoulders. I knew if I were to have trouble in any of my classes in the future, I have extra credits and I don’t have to worry about falling behind.

Getting ahead on classes was probably one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in terms of my academics at college. Being able to take some harder courses over summer sessions allowed me to focus on them, instead of taking them on top of 4 other classes during a normal semester. It was extremely beneficial to my academic career, and if it’s something you’re able to do, I would highly consider it.

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