Summer is just around the corner and for some that may mean relaxing and recharging by going on camping trips or just hanging out with family and friends. But for others, summer break is a chance to catch up or get ahead in classes. Taking a summer class at a community college allows students to narrow their focus on a single subject – rather than your typical four, five or even six classes during the longer semesters. Although taking a summer class may not sound like a fun way to spend your summer break, taking these classes offer several major benefits. Here are some benefits if you are considering taking a summer class:
Benefit 1: You save money
Whether you are a high school or college student, taking summer classes at a community college can save you money in the long run. Community college course credits are typically more affordable than those offered at universities. At a CC you may pay only a few hundred dollars or even less than that if you qualify for fee waivers. At a four year university, you may end up paying a few thousand dollars for the same course credit at a CC. Saving money is important even if you are still in high school.
Additionally if you are a high school student and you want to get ahead in your coursework for college, taking summer classes at a CC may put you ahead of the curve when you apply to college. When you first start college, you will be placed at different levels of mathematics or english classes. To be placed in the correct level course, you need to take a placement test. If you took advanced placement or even college courses, these may count towards your college credits and you will be placed in more advanced courses. This is a benefit as you won’t waste time taking placement tests and in classes you already passed.
Benefit 2: You are able to transfer to a four year institution or graduate faster
If you started your higher education at a community college your main goal may be to transfer in two years. For some fields, like STEM fields, transferring in two years may be challenging as there are many courses to complete. But taking summer classes can help you complete your courses faster and in turn, transfer to a four year institution faster.
Since taking summer classes gives you the opportunity to earn more credits, this brings you closer to graduating faster.
Benefit 3: You complete your core courses and/or are able to catch up on credits
Summer semesters are shorter than your fall and spring semesters, this may be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you see this. It may be seen as a bad thing because it means you are learning a semester’s worth of material in five or six weeks. The plus side of this is that you are able to put all of your time and energy into a single subject rather than juggling multiple courses. So if you are dreading to take a challenging course during a long semester, consider taking it during the summer.
Benefit 4: Opportunity to study abroad
If summer vacation is about traveling and experiencing new things, why not do it while getting ahead in your studies? Many study abroad programs take place during the summer, and depending on that the school has to offer, it could be a great opportunity to both learn and travel.
What are college promise programs?
College Promise Programs are commitments to fund a college education for every eligible student advancing on the path to earn a college degree, a certificate, and/or credits that transfer to a four-year university. These are additional programs that students can apply to and get at minimum their first two semesters of community college financially covered along with mentoring, summer bridge, and other academic support.
Who is eligible? What are the requirements?
Eligibility ranges by the program. Some programs ask you to be a first-time college student and some do not. Another eligibility requirement can include GPA, family income, and the number of units being taken per semester (full-time vs. part-time student). These requirements vary by program, however, because California offers over 50 programs, it is certain you will find one for you!
How can I apply?
To apply to a college promise, please follow Catalog of Local and State College Promise Programs to find the list of college promise programs that apply to you. In this list, the college promise programs are split between statewide and local programs. Statewide programs mean geographic eligibility allows students from anywhere in the state to apply, while local programs are open to only those students in the area. This list includes the program description, requirements, and contact information.
Here are two examples of statewide programs that may be open to you:
Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan
- Is available to California residents attending the state’s UC schools who have a total family income below $80,000 and meet other campus-specific grant aid requirements
- Covers four semesters and can be used at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz toward a Bachelor’s degree
- Provides support including textbook vouchers, transportation benefits, and housing assistance.
- Students can be part-time or full time
- For more information, visit admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/tuitionfinancial-aid/types-of-aid/blue-and-goldopportunity-plan.html or contact (800) 207- 1710 or email@example.com.
The California College Promise Grant
- Available to California students who qualify for at least one of the following: Cal Grant, an unmet need of $1,104 or more, is a current recipient of TANF/CalWORKS, (SSI/SSP), has certification/documentation from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, California National Guard Adjutant General, California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, or another public agency that you are eligible for a dependent’s fee waiver; or has a family income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty line
- The Promise covers four or more semesters and can be used at any of California’s community colleges for a vocational award or for the general education requirements needed for an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree.
- For more information, visit home.cccapply.org/money/california-college-promise-grantor contact (916) 327-5356 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
While these are just two of the many California College Promise programs, there are several others that can fit your location and needs. There are people and programs willing to help you as a first-generation college student, all you need to do is apply! College is for you.
Catalog of Local and State College Promise Programs (Pages 10-27)
California Promise Programs Spreadsheet (List Doc, Statewide+Local)
The graduation rate of the college you are thinking of attending is an important factor. It can tell you a lot about the value of education at the college.
A low graduation rate can indicate several reasons why the college may not be the best fit for you. Some reasons include a lack of student support services or guidance and a tendency to have students take more remedial courses. Make sure you do a bit of research before you commit!
To learn more about why graduation rate matters, download this guide Why Graduation Rates Matter. Guide provided by DecidED