Best Online Summer College Courses In 2023

While some students enjoy the break from academic work that comes with summer, some others decide to sit back with their PC and take online summer college courses. It may seem like an anomaly but summer courses help improve your college experience. Taking free or cheap online summer session courses will boost your GPA and help you graduate early.

Also, now that summer classes options are increasing, you can dedicate some time to studying online while still enjoying summer like your mates.

If you still aren’t buying the idea of taking online summer college courses, we’ll try to convince you otherwise. The next paragraphs explore everything about online summer college courses. We also provide you with some of the best colleges where you can take summer courses online.

You can view the table of Content below to see other things we have wrapped up in this post for you.

Benefits of Taking Online Summer Classes

You may not buy the idea of summer college courses yet because you haven’t seen enough reasons yet. Here are some benefits that you need to see:

Online summer classes help you eliminate tough classes with less time and fewer distractions. College summer courses usually last from four to six weeks. This short-term curriculum may motivate you to be inventive especially as you’re working with fewer distractions.

Also, you can speed up your graduation time by taking free or cheap online summer college courses. When you’re moving according to your college’s normal schedule, the addition of summer classes may speed up your graduation. However, if you have some courses you dropped in the past, you can use online summer classes to retake them, thus leveling up to the normal graduation time.

In addition, you can take advantage of summer learning to explore special courses you can’t get from a normal college curriculum. Some colleges expose their students to educational options available to them using the summer learning plan.

One of the biggest advantages of online summer college courses is that it improves your GPA. You may have noticed that many students who take summer classes earn a higher summer-term grade point than in another academic period.

Furthermore, your CV looks better with Summer Online courses in it. This passes the message to your future employer that you are passionate about your career development. This is because summer sessions allow you to free up your fall timetable for internship placement.

See other ways to make your CV look good. Here are our 21 Vital Tips That Can Boost Your CV As An International Student

What Makes Online Summer Classes Different?

Here are some of the differences between an online summer college course and a traditional online college course:

1. Summer semesters take between four to six weeks to complete within the period of May to August.

Traditional online courses, on the other hand, may take up to thirty (30) weeks of study. Also, this period of time is classified into the fall semester and spring semester, spanning from September to April.

2. Because of the timing, you’ll take more assignments and homework. In some instances, you’ll have to do lab work and a quiz.

The traditional online student has his workload spread out over the 15-week period. So, he has more time to read and take assignments and tests.

3. Your instructors will likely take only one class in the summer session, leaving you to choose from a fewer number of courses in the summer. Also, because of the low-class volume, you’ll have fewer students competing for open spots.

Instructors in traditional online colleges teach more classes during regular semesters. Combined with longer terms, the traditional online student will have more classes to take in fall or spring. Also, competition for spots in popular classes is more because of the large number of students taking classes.

4. Additionally, you’ll pay less tuition per credit than the traditional online college student.

5. Furthermore, there is less enrollment restriction for online summer college courses than the traditional online course. You may be free to switch to another college for your online summer course because of the open-enrollment policy. Many colleges maintain this policy as well as offer in-state tuition for out-of-state students during this period.

However, traditional online college students would have to be students of the university to study in regular semesters.

Transfer Credits and Online Summer Courses

Summer enrollment is so unique that you are not limited to only the courses your school offer. You are free to expand your academic knowledge while saving money by enrolling for summer courses in neighboring colleges or elsewhere.

If you’re choosing to study in another school, you’ll have to search for equivalent courses and apply for admission. You can transfer the credit to your school afterward, but ensure to contact your academic advisor before making this move.

Take a Financial Planning course this summer, check out our 15 Colleges For Financial Planning

Here are some points to help you consider the option of taking an online summer college course in another college.

Supplement College Education with Community College Courses:

You can take advantage of summer courses offered in community colleges that aren’t available in your school. Courses offered by community colleges will help you save costs. Meanwhile, grades you earn at a community college don’t affect your home school GPA.

Give Tough Courses a Shot:

When you are not certain of the tough courses you’ll be offering the next semester, consider taking it as a summer course outside. This is because if you fail these courses, there’s the hope of you performing better in your home school. You would’ve saved yourself the cost of re-taking it in your school for the full price.

Take Advantage of Statewide Community College Network:

Many community colleges are members of a larger statewide network. Therefore, by enrolling for a summer course in one of these colleges, you are open to courses offered by the other members of the network.

Plan your GPA:

Many students take online summer courses in another college on a pass/fail basis. Even though they grade these courses following a traditional structure in the following semester(s) it doesn’t affect your GPA. Therefore, passing a summer course is saving a GPA that may be affected if you pass the course normally but with a poor grade.

There are also other ways to boost your GPA. Check out our post: Make a High GPA at school:6 Effective ways to Increase your brain Power

Best Online Summer College Courses

You now see how taking online summer college courses may be beneficial to you as well as the advantages of taking it in another college. The next question now is, what are the best colleges to get free or affordable online summer courses?

Here are some of the best you can choose from:

#1. Yale Summer Online

Online Summer courses at Yale provide you with a unique learning experience with video-based discussion sessions. Also, Yale’s online summer classes are usually small – around 20 students – that allow you extensive interaction with professors and classmates.

A major advantage of this summer online program is that you’ll earn a Yale College Credit. You’ll also be able to say that you have a Yale education. Additionally, Yale’s online learning makes evening learning available.

The tuition for Yale’s online summer session is $4,200 for 1-course credit or 4 semester credit hours. For a 2-credit course, the tuition fee is $8,200; while for Law and Business Seminar, it is $5,400.

#2. Illinois Summer Session

The University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign provides online summer college courses for students. The college offers more than 350 online courses in multiple subject areas over the summer break.

The summer online term provides you with an opportunity to continue your education and learn valuable skills to prepare you for graduation. This summer session is available to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign undergraduate students and non-degree students from around the globe.

The tuition for these cheap online summer college courses is $409 per credit hour.

#3. UCLA Summer Sessions

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) provides this online summer college course session for undergraduates and graduates. This session allows you to settle your academic needs while working with inflexible hours or just studying from the comfort of your home.

Are you interested in working during the summer break? Here are 15 Best Summer Jobs for College Students

One cool benefit of UCLA online academics is that the transcripts don’t indicate if a class was taken online or on campus. Also, you get scores of online courses during the summer, including GE and upper-division electives in various subject areas.

Furthermore, UCLA has dozens of online courses in a number of exciting subject areas you can study this summer.

This cheap online summer college course tuition is $279 per unit for UC Undergraduates. For UC graduates it is $349 per unit, while for all other categories of students it is $355 per unit.

#4. Penn Summer Online

This Ivy League course with Penn Summer Online allows you to take summer courses while fulfilling other summer obligations like internships. With Penn, however, you’ll partake in rigorous academics, connect with professors, and participate alongside other students in real-time.

Here’s a summer internship program for you: William Morrow Publicity Summer Internship

You’ll participate in the synchronous video conferencing sessions once a week that characterizes the online summer session. You’ll also use web-based threaded discussions, assignments, activities, and virtual office hours to extend and enrich the learning experience.

Meanwhile, if you are not a Penn undergraduate student, you can register for Penn Summer Online courses as a visiting student. You’ll have to complete the visiting student open enrollment form.

The tuition for Penn’s online summer session is $4,392 per credit unit.

#5. Emerson College Summer Online Course

This online summer college course by Emerson College offers Undergraduates and postgraduates challenging coursework. The colleges’ online curriculum doesn’t have a set meeting time for online classes, thus, students are you’re responsible for managing their time. You’re going to ensure to complete the course requirements by the scheduled weekly due dates.

Also, the instructor will be available online, and/or via phone during their scheduled office hours.

Emerson’s online courses require you to put in the same amount of time and effort as face-to-face courses.

Additionally, Emerson degree students enroll in courses through common. Meanwhile, Non-matriculated students (visiting students) registration is through the Office of Professional Studies.

Emmerson College online summer courses tuition is $778 per credit for undergraduates. For graduates, however, it is $1,221 per credit unit.

#6. Stanford Summer Session

This online summer college course by Stanford University offers students a competitive and entertaining summer education. If you’re a high-achieving and ambitious student, Stanford will provide you with a transformative educational experience.

Why Stanford? Check out: Stanford University Rankings and its Tuition Fees with Admission Requirements

Also, the school’s world-class summer session combines challenging academics with a rich array of extra-curricular programming. Its Summer Session doesn’t fail to share the University’s culture of innovation, academic excellence, and global responsibility.

Stanford University online summer courses tuition starts from $3,381, however.

#7. Harvard Summer School

This online summer course by Harvard University is available to undergraduates and graduates. Also, its study online section provides you the option of Online Only, Online (Live) Web Conference, and On-Campus with Online Option.

All these online classes give you access to course materials when it’s convenient for you. You’ll have to keep up with the pace of activities and assignments outlined in the syllabus, however.

You can also check out Free Online Courses at Harvard University for All Students

You may have to participate Live in online courses even though studying with the Online Only option.

Harvard University online summer courses tuition is $3,340 for 4-unit credit, however.

#8. Georgetown University Summer Program

These online summer courses by Georgetown University give you the chance to get a head start and earn college credit at the university.

What if you don’t use college credit after a long time? check this out: Do College Credits Expire? Best Answers

Through a blend of lectures, class discussions, and hands-on application, you’ll find your transition into the college learning environment easy. The summer courses at Georgetown will also give you the opportunity to study alongside current undergraduate students.

You’ll also learn from the prestigious Georgetown faculty and engage in challenging coursework that will prepare you for success in college and beyond.

The university’s online summer course duration is eight weeks.

In addition, this cheap online summer college course tuition is $1,496 per credit unit.

#9. University of Pittsburgh Summer Sessions

This online summer course by the University of Pittsburgh allows you to take upper-level courses in the completion of your degree.

You can study these classes, which fill quickly during the school year, online.

The school’s summer sessions also provide you the flexibility of study such as focusing on a class at a time and exploring new interest areas.

In addition, you can choose the session that works with your summer plans.

This cheap online summer college course tuition is $755 per unit for the University of Pittsburgh Undergraduates.

#10. UW College Summer Sessions

This online summer course by the University of Wisconsin allows you to earn college credit while still rocking your summer! You can take a UW college summer online course and then transfer it back to your university or start working toward your desired degree.

Also, at UW College Online, you’ll get a quality education that is very affordable. An enticing feature of the UW college summer courses is that the credits transfer with ease.

UW college offers up to 100 online summer course classes that range from three (3) to eight (8) weeks.

This cheap online summer college course tuition is $238 per unit for Wisconsin residents and $285.60 for Non-Residents.

Online Summer Course FAQs

Can you take summer classes online as a high school student?

You should take summer classes as a high school student because summer classes are more intensive, students generally take only one or two classes at a time. This also allows students to be more focused, rather than trying to balance 3-6 classes at a time. Taking summer classes helps some students “stay in the mode” of studying

How can you get high school credit over summer?

To get high school credit over the summer, you must take credits during summer break in order to enhance your learning, graduate early or make up for failed courses. Get high school credit over the summer by enrolling in online summer classes for credit or to speed up your graduation.

Are there online summer college courses benefits?

Basically, there are a number of benefitss from taking an online summer course but online classes are no easier than classes offered in a traditional class setting. In fact, you will need a lot of self-motivation to excel in online summer classes.

Can you take summer classes at another college?

Yes, you can take summer classes at another college. In fact, it’s a great way for students to get out of their usual environment or get ahead on a degree.
However, you need to identify courses to take, investigate financial aid options, apply to other colleges, register for courses, and be aware of transfer conditions. Also, you should have an official transcript sent if you intend to transfer your credits to their original college.


Summer college courses are one of the best ways to improve your GPA and speed up your graduation. It can also help you prepare ahead for a tough course you’ll face in the next semester.

Several colleges offer on-campus and online summer courses in the summer break but the online option offers you some flexibility of study. Thus, you can still have some time for adventure during the break while studying.

One beauty of online summer college courses is that it permits you to study in prestigious colleges and transfer the credits back to your school.

We believe our list of best online summer college courses will guide you towards selecting a college for your summer courses.

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