My College:

Online Summer Classes for Credit and Fun

Ianni Le

As your student gears up for summer 2020, they’re probably looking at quite an adjustment from their pre-pandemic plans.

Online summer classes to the rescue!

Whether they'd like to earn some credits or just continue learning, point them toward these summer educational options.

Summer Courses for Credit

It can be incredibly frustrating to have a four-year college plan derailed by coronavirus changes and cancellations. Luckily, most colleges are offering their summer courses online and some are even available at discounted rates.

Though many universities are still holding off on discounting their online courses, they’re being forced to consider it as students voice their concerns with paying in-person prices for an online learning experience. Winthrop University in South Carolina is one of a few that have voted to reduce summer tuition — with luck this marks the beginning of a trend and other universities will follow suit.

Of course, this change is spurred by the fact that many students are looking for less expensive alternatives to taking online classes at their resident universities. Encourage your student to expand their search to other accredited online colleges. This could be a way to save money and try something new by experiencing a different university’s classes.

Sophia is a fantastic (and free) online resource for your student to check out. They offer free, self-paced courses that your student can start whenever they choose. Sophia will send transcripts to your student’s resident university to assist in transferring credit. They guarantee that credits will transfer to their partner universities; other universities accept Sophia course credits on a case-by-case basis.

Your student should always make sure that credits taken at another school will transfer to their resident university. This is imperative if your student is working to maintain their four-year plan or is just hoping to knock out some credits over the summer to help with their regular semester workload.

If your student is struggling with the adjustment to online schooling (understandably!), these online resources can help:

  • Khan Academy is a long-time favorite of students, whether they're learning at home or in a traditional classroom. Learners must create an account but all the resources are free. Khan Academy classes provide a solid foundation in a variety of academic subjects and are ideal for struggling students thanks to step-by-step instruction that permits learning at your own pace.
  • Chegg is another popular website; however, it does require a monthly paid subscription. Despite the fact that it isn’t free, many college students swear by it and use it faithfully to help them through difficult classes. Chegg is most widely used for help in math and science courses, but students can also use it to find personal tutors 24/7 for any subject they are struggling with. 

Focus on Personal Growth

Even if your student doesn't want or need to take a class for credit this summer, they can still look online for ways to build skills and expand their general knowledge.


Coursera is a good website to find ways to supplement your student’s education. The site collaborates with leading universities across the country to provide learners with a variety of intriguing options.

Encourage your student to browse the list of certificates Coursera offers to see what piques their interest. Certifications are also offered at most universities and function as an extra boost or specialization to a degree. Coursera, however, offers certifications that may save you money and can be tailored to fit your student’s needs. They provide verified certification upon completion of a course that can be used to validate your student's new skills.


Maybe your student is eager to learn something new just for their own satisfaction. They might want to learn to play an instrument during this time! There are a lot of different online learning platforms to choose from and if your student is looking to move past free courses, they can check out this breakdown of different online music classes. Or maybe they'd rather practice a new craft, study a new language or learn to do a handstand.

Well, this is the summer! With all the uncertainty surrounding how and when colleges will reopen in the fall, there's never been a better time for your student — or for any of us, for that matter — to prepare for the future by becoming the person we want to be in the present.

If your student isn't entirely sure they want to commit to a class but are worried they won’t be able to find anything else to do, there are other ways for them to have a productive summer online. If they intend to look for a job or internship soon, they can consider building employable skill sets to bolster their resume and make them competitive candidates.

Ianni Le is a freelance writer and content creator. She attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, graduating with a degree in Media Design and English Literature. Ianni grew up in Shanghai, China and enjoys her dogs, books and food equally.
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