Some universities cater for summer and winter units – basically, units studied through what would otherwise be university breaks. Many students go through their entire degrees without studying a summer or winter unit, so they’re certainly not compulsory – but they can have a number of benefits.
Here are some thoughts on summer/winter units.
Units taught outside regular teaching periods are sometimes structured in different ways. Instead of having a few classes over the space of 12 weeks, summer/winter units are often much shorter, and much more intense. This is sort of off-set by the idea that you’ll only be studying one unit at a time, so there’s no need to balance several units concurrently. Instead, you can focus entirely on this one intensive unit.
It’s a pretty anodyne conclusion that different people study in different ways, and different teaching methods suit different people. With that in mind, shorter, sharper units may actually be way more effective for some – and this is an opportunity you might like to consider.
In some cases, units will be offered only outside regular teaching periods. This means that if you’re interested in, say, a summer unit that’s not otherwise offered throughout the year, you don’t really have much of a choice if you’re intent on studying it!
Uni is a really great time to branch out and try new things and, whilst it might not be ideal, studying a summer/winter unit might be the way to go as far as subject matter is concerned.
NOTE: Other summer/winter units, however, most certainly are offered through regular teaching periods. You should check with your individual institution and/or faculty.
Let’s say you have to complete a total of 24 units across the course of your degree. If you do one of those units over summer or winter, then, obviously, you have fewer units to worry about at a later date. If you do this a few times, it might eventuate that you can underload several times in the future – or, indeed, actually finish your degree earlier than you otherwise would have. This is particularly the case if you have, say, a single unit left to complete at the end of the academic year, and don’t want it to carry on to the next year. It can be a huge advantage as far as degree flexibility goes.
On the flipside, let’s say you’ve previously underloaded in your degree. Or perhaps failed a unit. If you don’t want that to prolong the length of your degree, your options are really to:
Understandably, you might not want to overload – it can be pretty intense – so a summer/winter unit might be the best option available to you!
As strange as this may sound, some people don’t really like the hugely lengthy holidays afforded to university students. Sometimes, especially early in your degree, they may seem too long, and you may not feel stimulated. If you’re looking for something productive to keep you on your toes, continuing uni in this way can be a really effective tool.
And whilst the opposite is also a possibility – you don’t want to burn out from constant university study – the consistency can allow you to more easily build momentum between semesters. The stop-start academic nature of uni becomes less of an issue.