Admit it. When you were young, there was no sweeter sound than that last bell of the school year. No homework. No tests. It didn't matter what you did during those glorious weeks of summer vacation as long as it didn't involve writing papers, solving math problems or reading textbooks.

That's all well and good when you're 10 years old.

But as a working adult trying to earn a college degree, you have a different perspective on your education than you did in elementary school – and that includes how you spend your summer months.

Online format fits summer schedules

One of the top reasons online degree programs attract busy working adults is because they epitomize flexibility and convenience.

According to Joe Mews, a director in Saint Leo's Student Support Center, students connect to online courses asynchronously, meaning via a learning management system, email, discussion boards and links to course materials.

"This format fits well with typical summer schedules because there is no requirement to be online, or on-campus, at a designated time," says Joe.

"Students have the flexibility to work on their studies when and where is most convenient for them. That means busy parents can catch up on their studies when their children are in soccer camp or taking swimming lessons."

Here are five additional compelling reasons to enroll in online courses over the summer.

1. Get your feet wet.

Summer terms are a great time to start an online program. Begin by taking just one course to help you get over any initial jitters. Build some confidence by easing yourself into online learning and becoming comfortable with the technology and the expectations associated with college-level courses.

Since online programs require a good deal of writing, a foundational course in academic writing is a good one to start with to you can strengthen critical writing skills.

2. Complete your degree more quickly.

Who wouldn't want to complete their program more quickly? The sooner you earn your degree, the sooner you can start putting it to work and move up in your career. With two eight-week terms available – May 2 to June 26 and June 27 to August 21 – enrolling in summer courses enables you to earn up to 12 credits in a few short months, accelerating your degree while keeping your family vacation plans intact.

3. Keep your momentum.

Call it summer slide or summer brain drain, you know how difficult it is for your children to get back in the school routine after a few months off. If you're taking online courses, you don't want to lose the momentum you've worked hard all year to attain.

"Consider completing a particularly challenging course during the summer to ease your workload in the fall," says Joe. "Focusing your time on that one advanced course can help ensure success and keep your GPA strong."

4. Get a jump on the fall term.

If you're just stepping into your college program, summer terms offer an ideal opportunity to get a few prerequisite courses out of the way. Getting some credits under your belt during the summer – when life may be a bit less hectic – can take some of the stress out of the fall term.

"If you're traveling, you still have the ability to reach one of our enrollment counselors or student advisors," says Joe. "Saint Leo's extended support hours ensure that whatever time zone you are in, you will be able to tap into the student services you need."

5. Test drive your major.

Not sure which major is for you? Maybe you can't decide between psychology and sociology, for example. Taking your first course in your degree program during the summer will help you see what your intended major is like. Then, when the fall term begins, you'll know in which direction you should head.

Maximize your summer months

Because it stirs up negative images of sitting a desk in a classroom while the rest of the world enjoys sunshine and relaxation, summer school gets a bad rap.

Vacations are canceled to accommodate school schedules and summertime fun fizzles.

Not so for adults in online programs.

Families and busy adults can plan vacations at any time because online students are able to take their courses with them. As long as weekly deadlines are met, coursework can be completed anywhere, anytime.

"We highly recommend students maximize their summer months by completing six to twelve credits in their online degree program," says Joe. "If you're unsure about which program best suits your needs, we have enrollment counselors available to discuss degree options and admission requirements for the summer semester.

"This will allow you to build comfort and confidence with the online classroom, while also gaining a jump start on your degree program before heading into the fall."

Students can register for the Summer I term (May 2 – June 26) through May 1. Registration for Summer II term (June 27– August 21) is open through June 26. Call 888-875-8265 to get started.

Other posts you may be interested in reading:

12 Support Services For Online Degree Students

Choosing An Online Degree Program

When Mom Goes Back To School

3 Tips To Know When Choosing A Major

The ABCs Of Online Learning

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