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7 summer school courses to expand your horizons

Posted by Alex Pearlman  May 31, 2012 10:34 AM

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summerschool.jpgBy Meredith Wish

June is here and it’s summer in Boston. No more freezing rain-storms or random blizzards in April.  However, summer isn’t like how it use to be. As a career-less college student or recent grad your options are few: summer job to avoid the debt of your past semesters, go back home to either be stuck with your parents, or work at your hometown Dairy Queen. Unless, you decide to take summer courses.

There’s a difference between the “summer school” students used to be familiar with, and college summer courses. Students already have hefty loans to pay off, why not add a fun course that you normally wouldn’t have time for? They’re often less expensive than regular semester classes. Summer courses allow you to build more credit, take a chance on a subject you know nothing about, and meet new people. Here is a list of seven fun courses you can take in Boston this summer.

If you live anywhere near Comm Ave,  you’re already walking distance from Boston University. BU has some great summer courses available:

Death and Immortality (July 3 - August 9)
This class explores the death rituals of different religions and cultures. This would be a perfect time to understand the difference between “a Wake” and “Sitting Shiva.” Not only does it explore the rituals of death and what comes after, but the philosophy of the soul. Find out if there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Art and Architecture in Boston, 1630 to the Present (July 3 - August 9) or Special Topics (July 13 - July 27)
If you love this city, try learning some of its history. There is a huge difference in architecture between Kenmore and Park Street; one street can look like a snap shot of old London, and the next street over sits The Prudential and the other modern skyscrapers. “Special Topics,” is all about that dirty water. Learn about the harbors and bays of Boston and all their ecosystems. This hands-on class will get you using GIS Datalayers, species maps, and field work guides.

There are various reasons to take a basic psychology course: if you want to go into advertising to study what captivates the human mind, if you’re that friend that people always seek advice from, a new parent wanting to know how to deal with your children, etc. Wheelock’s course takes a look at the counseling methods of psychology.

Counseling Psychology - June 25 - August 3
The counseling methods consist of dealing with children, adults, and family issues. This course also explores the troubles of race, gender, and class. Pyschology is always a great subject to have because it covers so many majors such as, Anthropology, Advertising, Social Work, Communication, Education, and many others.

Across the Charles is Cambridge’s finest, Harvard, with amazing summer programs. However summer classes are limited, so make sure to book your classes sooner than later. Harvard’s summer courses are open for registration only until June 28.

Public Speaking
It’s a great to skill to have in any occupation, and this course helps fine tune that skill, while maintaining your personal style of speech. The class incorporates acting techniques from the dramatics program, preparing students for everything from small group meetings to large scale presentations.

Video Field Production

The summer is a great opportunity to get your creative juices flowing. Ever watch some great webisodes and feel that you can do it as well, but don’t know how to use the equipment or programs? Harvard’s class on video production is hands-on learning the equipment and the editing programs like Final Cut Pro. The class also has students write and produce their own mini-productions, making it even easier to become a Youtube star overnight.

Astronomy (No limit for enrollment) 

Summer is the perfect time for viewing the night sky, especially during the meteor showers during August. Enhance your knowledge and impress your significant other with a midnight picnic staring up at the sky. Learn how cosmologists discover the universe with different types of technology and how to understand the data. This fun class will give a whole new perspective of the night sky.

Art 101 - Anywhere. BU, Lesley/ Art Institute of Boston, and Mass Art

To get in touch with your inner Van Gogh or Picasso any beginner’s art course will work. There are endless scenic views in Boston for inspiration, from the Boston Public Garden to the view of the city from Top of The Hub, to the Gardner Museum. Learn to paint the city with your newly learned techniques. Most liberal art schools offer courses like Painting, Drawing/Illustration, Digital Art, so your options are endless.

Whether if you need the extra credit, want to audit, or you’re just avoiding a summer job, taking a summer course never hurts. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge, meet new people, and take something exciting that you never thought you would have time for. Also, if you’re in high school wanting to take college credit or still unsure of which school you want to go to, this is a great opportunity to get the college feel without the pressure.

Photo by scottnj (Flickr)

About Meredith: I specialize in copywriting and graphic design. Based in Boston; you'll catch me watching a game at Fenway, reviewing a film, or performing in Harvard Square. I love doing it all and I can never make up my mind. I like to consider myself a "Jill of all Trades." Twitter: @thoughtfulwish

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