Prepare to Excel in the Shorter Terms of Summer Session

Summer courses are condensed into a shorter time frame than the 16-week fall and spring semesters. The same amount of material is covered, resulting in a faster-paced immersive experience. Students who participate in summer session, on average, complete 5.5 credits. This allows a deeper focus on fewer topics.

Condensed terms can make 3 credits feel like:

  • 12 credits in a 4-week term,
  • 6 credits in an 8-week term, and
  • 4 credits in a 12-week term.

Additional considerations:

  • Labs are intense in an 8-week term.
  • If you’re choosing overlapping terms, the demand on your time increases. For example:
    • Taking a class in each 8-week term will feel like 12 credits during the 4 weeks the terms overlap.
    • A 3-credit class in a 4-week term in conjunction with a 3-credit class in an 8-week term will feel like 18 credits for the weeks the courses overlap.
    • Plan to get ahead in your first class to ease pressure before your next class begins.
  • If you’re working, consider how to balance work with studying, and how much work and study will be realistic during the time you’re taking classes.

Credit Hour and Credit Load information in the General Catalog provides additional insight for anticipating your academic workload.

Academic Support Resources


Academic Coaching and Tutoring

Check out The Institute for Teaching and Learning’s (TILT) online resources for study-skills and learning. Study Skills Resources includes time management, memory and concentration, test-taking skills, critical reading, online learning, and more. Videos and more are available on the TILT Academic Success Workshops resource.

Learning Resources by Subject or Skill

Student Programs and Services

Resources and Tips for Successful Learning

The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) website features easy-to-use resources tailored for undergraduate and graduate students. TILT helps students, faculty, and staff use research-based learning and teaching methods to support academic achievement, equity, and post-graduation success for all CSU students.

The “Learning Strengths” section provides helpful insight into learning styles and short articles about setting goals, enhancing concentration, how to stop procrastinating, and much more.

Tips for success in hybrid and online courses

  • The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT) covers strategies for succeeding in online and hybrid courses in this six-minute video.
  • Online courses are not self-paced. Assignment will be due at regular intervals.
  • Not all online courses utilize Canvas, but most do.
  • How Does Online Learning Work? (CSU Online)

PSY-152: The Science of Learning
This course can help you to become a more efficient learner by teaching you how to best spend your time when the amount of time that you have to devote to studying is limited.

Success Strategies

Before class begins:

  • Have your textbooks available prior to the first day if possible. This is extremely helpful with condensed terms, especially with the 4-week terms. Summer textbooks are available for purchase through the CSU Bookstore, online or in the store beginning spring finals week.
  • Visit Canvas Student Resources to become familiar with the course delivery environment.

First day of class

  • Start Day One: Be prepared to engage in the material and to study as soon as classes begin.
  • Seek Help Day One: If you have questions or concerns, ask the very first day. By day two the class may already be moving on to a new topic. Plus, if the course isn’t for you, you need to drop quickly to avoid the loss of tuition.

Plan ahead

  • Manage your schedule: Build in more time to study to keep up with the faster pace of summer courses.
  • Use the syllabus and refer to it frequently. Compare deadlines with your personal calendar to build in adequate time in your schedule to study and prepare for exams, quizzes, and assignment completion.

Daily strategies

  • Engage in class every day: Smaller class sizes, in general, provide more opportunity for engagement with faculty and classmates.
  • Study daily, as tests occur more often: Assess how long it takes you to read and understand material so you can plan accordingly.

Form study groups

One of the best ways to learn material is to discuss it with other students. Learn from, quiz, and teach each other.

Attend office hours as needed

Office hours are designated times instructors are available to meet with you outside of class, typically in their office, but sometimes virtually, at times listed on the syllabus. Making a connection with your instructor(s), asking for guidance, or confirming you’re approaching your work as expected can help you learn more and make a positive difference in your course outcome.

Interested in additional research about study skills? Explore the Morgan Library web resource section on “Evidence-based study tips from psychology” (scroll to the bottom of the page).