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What you should know about winter and summer semesters in the US

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If you’re an international student studying in the US, you should know that you have the option of taking classes during winter and summer semesters.

Even if your university doesn’t offer classes during the breaks (although most do), you can choose to study at other universities or colleges in the country without needing to go through much red tape.

Here are some important things you should know about signing up for classes during breaks.

It may be cheaper

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To encourage more international students to enroll for classes during breaks, many universities have lowered fees for these sessions.

Instead of normally paying out-of-state tuition fees that are much higher than what the residents pay, international students can save money by taking classes during winter or summer sessions.

“Current international students are charged the same rate for summer and winter classes as domestic students,” said Sarah Mullen, manager of curricular programs in the Office of the Dean of the College at Brown University, Rhode Island.

At San Jose State University in California, international students are also charged the same tuition fees as American students, as well as at Cornell University in New York.

But in some cases, additional international student service fees may apply. So if you’re planning to take classes over breaks to speed up your graduation, check with your options with your university first.

It may be counted towards your full-time status

International students in the US need to take at least 12 credits per semester to maintain full-time student status.

Some universities allow credits to be taken during winter or summer sessions, which ultimately count towards this full-time status.

At Bowling Green State University in Ohio, undergraduate international students who take three credit hours in the winter session have the option to register for nine credit hours for the rest of the spring semester to maintain their full-time status. 

Doing it this way means you can relieve yourself of some of the pressure of taking 12 credits, especially if you have a semester full of heavy subjects.

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It may save you time

Even if your university doesn’t count the credits taken during these sessions towards your full-time status, it still may be worth pursuing.

You can save a lot of time by taking a few classes during either summer or winter, as you can hit your minimum number of credits to graduate a semester, or even a year, earlier than planned.

Plus, if you need to re-take a class or take an elective to boost your GPA, you can save time by taking it during the breaks instead of during fall or spring semester.

Of course, planning is key, so make sure you check with your university on the courses offered so you can plan your course schedule, and ensure you have the prerequisite classes done before you register.

Not all courses that are typically offered during the fall and spring semesters are available during this time, so it’s best to check as soon as the course schedule is released.

If you’re headed back home for the holidays, you may still be able to take classes at a university in your home country and transfer the credits back, depending on your respective university and if it recognises credits.

Another option is to enrol for online courses offered during summer or winter breaks which you can do in the comfort of your own home.

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