Some college students may not like to take summer classes because they prefer to take a break from academic work and use the summer for relaxation or to pursue other interests. Additionally, summer classes may have a more condensed schedule, making them more intense and challenging for some students. The desire to work or intern during the summer is also a common reason why some students may not prefer to take summer classes.

However, taking summer courses can offer several benefits to college students. For instance, it can help students catch up or even get ahead on credits, potentially allowing them to graduate earlier. Another added bonus is that summer classes tend to offer smaller class sizes, providing more personalized attention from professors. Some students also find that focusing on a single course or a lighter course load during the summer allows them to better concentrate on the material. Lastly, taking summer classes can be a way to stay academically engaged and make progress toward their degree during the break.

At Ivy Tech Indianapolis, summer classes offer students a distinctive and enriching educational experience. This summer, we spoke with three students, Knyla Coiley, Chris Pinnell, and Aleysha McCloud, who shared their insights on the experience and benefits of taking summer courses.

Knyla Coiley: The Driven Paralegal Student

Knyla Coiley, a 19-year-old paralegal studies major, is motivated by the desire to graduate on time and the opportunity to complete elective courses. 

“I am driven to finish my courses so I can make sure I have all the credits I need to graduate,” she explains. 

Coiley started taking classes at Ivy Tech last fall and appreciates the continuity that summer courses provide​​. She is enrolled in an online philosophy course and an in-person law office technology course, which offers a valuable certificate from the National Society of Legal Technology. She finds the smaller class sizes and the focused environment beneficial, especially for technical courses that require in-depth understanding. 

“It’s been very easy to navigate, and the support from professors and resources like IvyCares has been fantastic,” she adds​. “Taking summer classes is not different than taking regular courses. You do get a three-week break to prepare. If you wanted to, you could only take one class, but I think two classes are very manageable. They can be taken online so students can have time to work if that’s what they were planning on doing.

Read more about Coiley’s experience.

Chris Pinnell: From the UK to Ivy Tech Automotive Excellence

Chris Pinnell, a 27-year-old student majoring in automotive maintenance, embarked on his journey at Ivy Tech Indianapolis after moving from the United Kingdom. Pinnell, who has a background in the automotive industry, sought hands-on experience and technical knowledge that he had not previously acquired. 

"I've done sales, logistics, marketing, and pretty much every aspect of the automotive industry apart from actual hands-on experience, which I always had an interest in," he explains.

Pinnell's decision to take summer classes was driven by the necessity of completing specific courses required for his technical certificate. "Two of the classes that I had to take as part of my technical certificate are only offered during summer," he notes. These courses—climate control and engine performance—are essential components of his curriculum and provide practical, seasonally relevant knowledge​​.

When asked about the differences between summer and regular semesters, Pinnell highlights the smaller number of classes offered and the increased engagement among students. "I feel like more people want to be here rather than have to be here," he observes, noting that the summer atmosphere fosters a more dedicated and enthusiastic learning environment​.

Read more about Pinnell’s experience.

Aleysha McCloud: The Artist's Perspective

Aleysha McCloud, a 22-year-old fine arts major, finds summer classes to be a productive way to stay on track with her financial aid requirements while avoiding the stress of taking multiple classes in the fall. 

“It’s honestly easier to keep going instead of stopping for a while,” she says, appreciating the more laid-back atmosphere and smaller class sizes during the summer​.

McCloud is currently taking a fabric design class and sociology. She highlights the fast-paced nature of summer courses due to the shorter semester length, which can be challenging but manageable. 

“It can be a little harder to keep up with, in my opinion, compared to the fall and spring semesters, but at the same time, it's also a little bit more laid back, and there are fewer people. The instructors seem to be laid back more, too,” McCloud notes. 

Read more about McCloud’s experience.

The Summer Advantage

All three students emphasize the advantages of taking summer classes at Ivy Tech Indianapolis. 

The smaller class sizes, focused attention from professors, and the ability to stay on track with their academic goals are significant benefits. Additionally, the flexibility Ivy Tech Indy offers helps balance personal, professional, and academic commitments, making summer courses an attractive option.

For students considering summer classes, McCloud advises, “Know why you’re doing it. It’s fast-paced, so be prepared and work hard.” Pinnell suggests using the summer to focus on challenging subjects, while Coiley recommends taking advantage of the smaller class sizes and the opportunity to get ahead in credits.

At Ivy Tech Indianapolis, summer classes are more than just a way to fill the months between spring and fall; they are a unique opportunity to grow academically, personally, and professionally. As Coiley aptly puts it, “Summer classes are not just a continuation of your education; they are a chance to advance it.”

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.