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A Guide To Taking Summer Classes
Muskaan Arshad
Harvard 2025

During high school, there were a lot of classes I was excited to take. My interests ranged anywhere from AP European History to theatrical makeup. Sadly, I found that I wouldn’t be able to take all of the classes I wanted to pursue due to limits on the number of classes I could take per semester. I wasn’t willing to give up just yet. A solution I came up with was taking classes during the summer to allow myself the flexibility to learn many different things during the school year. I went about this in two different ways. I took summer classes through a program my school ran, as well as online courses through a separate provider.

My school itself offered many summer class options. They worked very well for me as they were less of a time commitment than regular semester-long classes. I also took online classes done by an outside accredited high school because the class material was easier. The time frame allowed to complete it made it a very flexible and realistic option for a person who still wanted to have a fun, chill summer.

This way, I got my semester-long requirements for health and P.E. out of the way as well as finish up my foreign language requirements, allowing me to take more AP classes during the school year, specifically in subjects I was actually interested in.

These are some things you have to take into account if you are interested in taking classes during the summer:

Do you want to do summer school?

  • Summer school isn’t for everyone. Maybe you have summer plans with your family or simply want to enjoy this time with your friends. Evaluate if this is the right choice for you and your schedule.

Look for opportunities within your highschool

  • Online summer classes from outside organizations can end up being pretty expensive, ranging anywhere from $200 to $1000. It’s best to look within your school or region for summer school opportunities first as they will be cheaper and more accessible for all, especially for lower income families.


  • Ensure that the organization that you take summer classes from is accredited to ensure it provides the highest quality of education. High schools will generally only accept it as credit if the online school is accredited. I personally used Excel High School because it was a reputable and accredited source as well as the cheapest option I could find.

Your School

  • Ensure that before you try to get this online credit that your school counselor approves of your choice. Check your school’s policy around awarding credit. After looking at my school handbook, I found out that I could only take two classes from outside organizations that would count towards my graduation requirements, which made me have to plan out my choices a bit carefully.

Other Options

  • If you want to challenge yourself during the summer, take classes at your local community college or university!