During my short time advising students I've quickly realized a large benefit to taking summer classes. At first students are generally opposed to summer courses (the cost and time), but from my personal experiences the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.
I think it's beneficial to discuss the costs of summer courses. Summer courses are cheaper than fall and spring $600 per credit v $820 per credit, respectively. But the summer courses usually don't allow for financial aid. For many students the idea of paying $1800 for a summer class seems a bit high, but before jumping to a conclusion let's go through a marginal cost/marginal benefit analysis.
Many seniors enter their final semester needing 12-15 credits to graduate. Let suppose you didn't take any summer courses and need 12 credits to graduate. At today's tuition it will cost you $15,200 to take those 12 credits (block pricing 12-18 credits cost the same amount). Let's assume you decided to take one summer course at $1,800. Now you only need 9 credits to graduate. Again using today's tuition $820 per credit, the 9 credits will cost you $7,380. That means you will end up spending about $9,000 for those same 12 credits. That's a savings of $6,000. The university assumes the per credit rate during the fall and spring ($820) assuming the student takes 18 credit hours, most students don't take 18 credits and end up paying a higher rate.
What you need to do, sit down and go through your schedule. This is good time because you're meeting with your adviser. I will be happy to help anyone figure out their schedule as well. The more courses you need in the final semester the smaller the benefit becomes. Suppose you need 15 credits to graduate. If you take two summer courses the cost will be $3,600 plus the $7,380 for your spring semester. Again you'll save about $4,200 by taking two summer courses. Every summer course you need to take will reduce your gain by $1800.
The key in taking summer courses is to make sure you are taking less than 12 credits your final semester after complete the summer courses. If you're taking 12 credits during the semester you are actually paying $1270 per credit compared to $850 per credit for 1-11 credits.
What about financial aid? Taking less than 12 credits will make you a part time student, but generally financial aid will get prorated. I would urge you to sit down with the financial aid office if this is a concern. From my own experiences, I was able to take two summer courses and complete my degree a semester early. My parents were relieved to save $10,000. In the end, college is expensive, but there are some simple things everyone can do to make it less expensive.
Who want's to take a class during summer? Again from experience, you'll be glad you took that summer class when time roles around to your senior year. The last thing you want is 4-5 finals before graduating. Think about how you felt graduating from high school (seniorities), it's 10x worse in college.
What about courses?
This year the economics department is offering both 201 and 202 over the summer. This will help students get ahead or prevent others from falling behind. Many students in other disciplines quickly realize 201 and 202 are often prerequisites for graduate school. Ec 202 will be offered in class and online and EC 201 online.
In addition to the principles courses, we are also offering Sports Economics, Global Economic Issues, and Economics of Financial Crises. Sports and Global have a requirement of 201 and Crises 202. All three courses will be offered online. All three courses will count for an upper level economics elective (key for those doing an economics concentration) and 311 counts for the IIE credits all business majors need.
I'll be happy to discuss the summer options with anyone interested!