Although summertime is often seen as a break from college, it can be also a good time to catch up on or gain additional credits toward a degree. Many schools allow guest students to enroll in classes during the summer and then transfer these credits back to their original college.
Step 1: Identify courses to take.
When choosing courses to take over the summer, don't just sign up for any course that sounds appealing. Students should first meet with their advisors to identify courses that are relevant to their course of study and will transfer back to their regular college. It might be helpful to look at a course equivalency guide if a student's college of origin has one. This can help to ensure a course will transfer once it's been completed.
Step 2: Investigate financial aid options.
Most host schools will not offer financial aid to guest students. Students should check with the financial aid office at their college of origin to see what coverage, if any, is available. Some schools may offer a consortium agreement through which students can take a limited number of classes at other institutions. In some cases, students may be able to apply grant or loan awards toward their summer courses, even at another school.
Step 3: Apply to the other college.
Just like enrolling in any college for the first time, students wishing to take summer courses at another college must apply and be admitted before enrolling in classes. Many colleges have a separate application for guest or visiting students. The application might include getting registrar approval or recommendations from the college of origin. Other stipulations could apply, such as a minimum college GPA.
Step 5: Register for courses.
Once admitted to another college as a guest student, it is time to register for the desired course or courses. The college should notify incoming guest students of their registration dates and provide instructions on how to proceed with adding and dropping courses. Many colleges have online portals where students can register for classes and perform other relevant tasks. Students should be aware that the summer calendar for another school can differ significantly from that of their home school.
Step 4: Be aware of transfer conditions.
It is important to keep in mind that most colleges of origin only take the transfer credit, not the grade. The grade a student receives at another college as a guest student will likely not affect their GPA at all. However, most colleges do stipulate a certain grade in order for the credit to be eligible for transfer. This is often a grade of C or a GPA of 2.0 for multiple classes.
Step 6: Have an official transcript sent.
Once the course or courses have been completed, it is important to have the other college send a transcript back to the student's home school. The college of origin needs this transcript to prove that the student took the course and so they can apply the credit to their record. The student's original college will likely require an official transcript to be mailed from the registrar's office. Typically, all costs incurred as part of the summer study must be paid in full in order for the transcript to be released.