Study tips for surviving summer semester

Power in Numbers: Krista Kubie and Kody Stadler working at the Tutoring and Writing Center in Mabee Library. Kubie and Stadler provided writing services to students throughout the semester.

Ryan Thompson

Summer has officially begun, and while for some this means taking a break from classes, others have chosen to continue their studies during the summer months. Summer classes began May 31 and many students may not know what to expect, but here are a few clarifications and tips that will help you succeed.

Building Your Schedule

The biggest difference between classes in the summer classes versus those in fall/spring is the accelerated pace. Summer classes condense the material of a fifteen week course into a third of that time, so students should expect the summer semester to fly by. Summer courses can be taken as early or late sessions, making them roughly a month long at either the beginning or end of the summer, or as full session, which would take two months. Not all courses give you a choice between early, late or full session, but for those that do, choose wisely.

Staying Organized

It is important to look over the syllabus and course schedule carefully so coursework can be planned out ahead of time. This will also help to avoid scheduling conflicts with work for those who have a summer job. Start working on assignments as soon as they are given, as the shorter deadlines give you less cushion time for procrastination. Because of the accelerated course load, each day will likely cover a new chapter, meaning that a lot more will be missed by skipping class during the summer than during the fall and spring semesters. Avoid playing hooky if it can be avoided. Consider buying a planner to keep track of your assignments and test dates.


As with all classes, good note taking and communication with professors are essential. Any material that is repeated, written on the board or put in a powerpoint should probably be taken down. Be brief and efficient. No one is judging your note-taking style, so write phrases instead of sentences and make use of abbreviations and symbols, so long as their meaning is remembered. A lot of material is covered each day, so finding your own trick to note taking (highlighting, abbreviating, recording audio with the professor’s permission, etc.) is key to keeping track of it all. Also, remain in contact with your professors. Your professors understand the realities of the accelerated schedule during the summer, so emailing, calling or setting up a meeting with them outside of class for further assistance can save your grade.

Seek Help

There is no shame in needing help. On top of the accelerated course work, summer also generally means longer hours at work, so it’s easy to fall behind or feel overwhelmed juggling it all. For students needing a little outside help, the Mabee Library offers a free student-run tutoring center on its second floor open throughout the year.

Writing tutoring will be available this summer in Room 308 in Mabee Library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and from noon – 4 p.m. Tuesday throughout the summer. Psychology tutoring will be available from 1 – 4 p.m. Monday and Friday, as well as from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. Furthermore, counseling services will be available over the summer. Students finding the summer semester stressful should not hesitate to stop by Room 140 in Morgan Hall.

Students must know their limits. Between class, school work and jobs, it can be challenging to find the time to get everything done, especially for those planning to actually enjoy some of their summer.

Don’t Panic

If all else fails, take a deep breath, grab the nearest cup of iced coffee and remember that in eight weeks it will all be over.