For part-time, online graduate students, “school’s out for the summer” doesn’t necessarily apply.  Many colleges and universities offer summer terms, which bridge the gap between the traditional fall and spring semesters and allow students who are working full-time the opportunity to complete their graduate programs that much sooner.studying at the pool

At the same time, taking classes from May to July doesn’t have to put a damper on your summer travel plans. GPS courses are fully online and asynchronous, meaning that students can access their coursework from any location and timezone. Here are some tips for managing your course load even when those beach trips, weddings and music festivals beckon:

  • Plan as far in advance as you can and be realistic. Look at what you have coming up over the next 10 weeks and make note of any out-of-town travel or big events. Check your syllabus and see when your big assignments and/or final projects or exams are due. If you know you’re spending a week away or have a particularly busy weekend, plan to complete your readings or discussion posts as early on as you can. Be honest with yourself about how much time you’ll need for your coursework each week, and build a schedule that’s feasible for you.
  • summer1Coordinate with your instructors. Let your instructors know about any summer travel plans as soon as you can. Does your course include a group project that you’ll be working on the week you’re in California for a wedding? No problem — many of your peers may be based in different time zones as well. Being in a different place physically shouldn’t impact your studies.

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  • Take advantage of the technology. Grab the Brandeis app for your phone or tablet and access your classroom on the go. Most of the textbooks assigned by our instructors are also available for e-readers.
  • Don’t be afraid of disconnecting. Summer travel generally involves planes, trains and long car rides (with or without wifi). With a little advanced planning and downloading, these large blocks of travel time can be a great opportunity to catch up on your reading, write your discussion posts or work on your final project.

Good luck to everyone taking courses this summer! For more information on GPS courses or graduate programs, contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.