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Just Say “No” To Summer School

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The overwhelming feeling of joy and relief after you finish your last final is a right that all students should have. Why would anyone want to complete their last final of the year and have that feeling smothered when they remember summer school starts in a week? Summer school is not fun. High school students should not be spending their summers sitting in a stuffy classroom listening to a lecture about some war between the Greeks and the Turks in the 13th century; they should be participating in activities that interest them.
Due to increasing competition for top schools, many high-achieving students take summer classes at community colleges or online in order to “improve” their transcript. However, most colleges aren’t just counting classes during the admissions process. Kris Surojvak, an admissions officer at Oberlin College says, “We seek passionate students and we value their diverse interests... from art to science, from sports to community service.” Her opinion reflects that of many college admission officers: they want to see you doing something interesting over the summer. Generally, summer school is not interesting; it is repetitive and tedious after ten months of obligatory classes.
Instead of enrolling in summer classes (unless they truly reflect a passionate interest you have), you should be exploring new fields of study in an exciting, unusual way. Forget the Spanish class at SMC; find a way to visit Mexico for a month and learn the language and culture first-hand. If this sounds expensive, don’t let the cost deter you; many organizations, such as IIEP Study Abroad Funding, offer grants, fellowships and scholarships for a wide array of countries including Germany, Japan, and Italy. Studying abroad is a priceless, life-altering experience because you immerse yourself in a culture so different from Santa Monica. Junior Sophy Cohen visited France this past summer through an organization called Global Works and stayed with a family in Narbonne, who “barely spoke a word of English.” She says that studying abroad, “forces you out of your comfort zone to communicate with people in another language. You get to be very independent and learn a lot, more than you would in a summer school class.” In other words, living abroad is one of the most eye-opening, worthwhile ways to spend a summer.
Internships are also a great way to put a twist on summer education. Instead of taking chemistry as an online course, you could help out in a lab and learn how real chemists work. Samo senior Sahab Danesh interned at Taslimi Construction this past summer. He explains, “I enjoyed having an internship over summer school because you get to work one on one with people that work in a field you might be interested in. But in a class room, you won't get the experience you would get in an internship… I would recommend summer internships because, even though you don't get paid, you get work experience and start to see what types of jobs you are interested in and would enjoy doing for the rest of your life.” Even if it means a job without pay, spending a summer as an intern helps you determine where your interests lay; taking a class just to earn credits could not do that.

With so many interesting opportunities over the summer, it’s impossible to imagine why summer school even exists. So unless your summer school is for remedial purposes or a subject you truly feel passionate about, don’t do it. You only have 8 months worth of high school summers in your lifetime, might as well make them extraordinary.





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