Should you take winter classes?

At this point in the semester, you’re probably craving winter break. We don’t blame you. But before you plan all the fun you’re going to have—skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snow angels, and hot chocolate—at least consider the pros and cons of taking winter classes.



1. Finish school faster

Taking winter classes means earning credits while other people are on vacation. Earn enough of these credits during winter or summer sessions and you could finish your degree a whole semester or even a year early. That means the extra cost—after all, winter classes aren’t free—can be offset, even exceeded by, the reduction in other costs, like room and board, meal plans, and more. What’s better than getting the same education for less?


2. Shorter classes

If you can’t stomach a whole semester of literary criticism, you can knock it out during winter in just a few weeks. Class sessions are often longer, or there are more sessions per week, but that means that you finish the class in fewer weeks overall. Get all your boring classes out of the way!


3. Smaller class size

Sure, nobody wants to take classes during winter break. But that means class sizes may be smaller than you’re used to. Smaller classes offer the chance to get personalized attention. You may also find that you develop a rapport with your professor, since you’re no longer just a name on a spreadsheet. Take advantage of the opportunity to speak more often in class and ask more questions if you’re struggling with the material.



1. No vacation

Obviously the biggest sacrifice you’ll make when taking winter classes is losing most of your winter break, which is your only chance to unwind and relax after the stress and pressure of school. Without taking time off between semesters, you might find yourself approaching a “burnout point,” where you’re physically and intellectually exhausted from the constant flow of work.


2. Less selection

Winter course selection is never as varied as the regular semester, which is why many students use winter session to knock out general requirements. While that’s still a smart use of time, it’s not necessarily the most fun or interesting.


3. Shorter classes

While this was listed above as a pro, it’s important to point how shorter classes can also be a con. There’s much less time to study and learn the material, less opportunity to form study groups, and fewer office hours in which to seek help from your professor. They key to success during winter session is understanding what kind of student you are. Do you learn quickly? Or do you prefer to learn at a slower pace? If you prefer to learn at a slower pace, you may want to skip winter classes.


So what do you think? Are winter classes for you?