Summer School for High Schoolers: The Pros and Cons


Few high schoolers dream about sitting in a classroom during the summer months, but summer school can put a student ahead of the game or allow them to play catch up. With the advent of online education, summer school doesn’t always have to mean sitting in a physical classroom while your friends work, play, and volunteer. 


Many students find summer school highly beneficial, but for others, it may not be a good fit. What are the ups and downs of summer school? If you’re wondering whether summer school for a high schooler is worth it, here are a few pros and cons to consider:



  • Improves your grades – For the high schooler who wants to improve her GPA, retake a failed course, or just bump up overall grades, summer school can be a great option. Making up a failed class in the school year can be embarrassing and can set students back, stifling their drive to excel. Instead of retaking a course during the school year, the summer is a perfect opportunity to get a passing grade. Summer courses are often presented in a smaller and more relaxed atmosphere, so getting personal instruction may make it possible for students to excel at a course they previously failed. There are many options for making up a failed class or taking new ones to improve a faltering GPA.
  • Frees up time during the school year – Some high schoolers take summer school to free up time during the school year. For many students, packing a full schedule with several difficult classes can be a lot to manage, especially for students taking AP or college credit courses. By enrolling in a capstone project or another rigorous course during the summer, students can alleviate over packed schedules during the regular school year. Summer school is also a great way to focus on fewer subjects at a time. 
  • Gets you ready for college – Most high school level summer schools focus on helping students improve their chances for college admission. Many schools offer college-level courses in which students can earn dual credit. This can save time and money once the student is enrolled in college.

    Often, learners can take prerequisite courses in summer school to get them out of the way. Other students simply take college campus summer school to get accustomed to college lifestyle. High schoolers can also explore fun new subjects they’re interested in studying in college. Suggest your high schooler take a few courses in a specific field to see if it’s something to pursue as a career. It might save your teen from pursuing - and paying for - a major they don't enjoy.  



  • No summer break – Losing summer break can be a sacrifice for any red-blooded American teenager. While friends are having a great summer relaxing or earning wages at a fun job, high schoolers in summer school often work very hard, studying course content. For those who do not want to be in summer courses, motivation may be a downfall. 
  • Makes vacations difficult – Many families take summer vacations, which can be difficult to plan around a high schooler enrolled in summer classes. However, online summer school does offer the convenience of working on courses from any location as long as the student has access to a reliable internet connection and proper study materials. One thing to remember with online courses is that there is typically less 1:1 student-to-instructor interaction than in a traditional classroom, so students must be self-motivated to complete their course work and stay on track.
  • Price – Consider the cost to your bank account before enrolling your high schooler in a summer program. Often summer schools offered through public schools are more affordable while summer schools that take place on college campuses can get pricier. However, summer school can also save money in the long run by allowing students to advance quicker and earn more credit, which may mean taking fewer prerequisite courses in college. 


Summer school for high schoolers can prove a cost-saving option that helps teens improve their grades and get a headstart in life, especially the college summer programs that help get students accustomed to college life early. By taking the time to study harder courses alone in the summer, student scan avoid a stress-filled term during the school year when their schedules are packed. 

High schoolers and their families may want to read up on their specific summer program before enrolling so they understand what will be expected of them ahead of time. They may also benefit from reading some tips on how to do well in summer school. For ideas on popular college campus summer school programs across the country, fastweb has a great listing of summer schools.

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Summer School for High Schoolers: The Pros and Cons