Summer Courses: Why They’re a Game Changer

Summer Courses Q&A with Ms. Ahn

Many students are counting down the days until summer break. Who can blame them? They work hard throughout the Fall and Spring semester!

For such students, summer test prep or academic enrichment classes may seem tiring and over-taxing. It can be difficult to fully see the life-changing value of summer courses in the long term.

Based on years of expert experience, our Head Academic Counselor at MEK, Ms. Ann Ahn, answers parents’ top questions about the true value of summer education.

Ms. Ahn with Parent


Q: Don’t kids need time to relax and take a break? Wouldn’t a summer course be just too much? We want to go on a trip this summer! 

HERE’S WHAT MS. AHN SAYS…

The average school year is approximately 165 days, and the average summer break is 84 days. That means summer break is nearly half a school year! When you consider how much your child learns and grows in a semester, it becomes clear that summer break is very long! Summer break is too long to just be a time to recharge. We can even see this in our children, who ache for summer break but often become bored halfway through.

What does this mean for students?

They have enough time to do it all! Summer break is long enough that students can take a traditional break from school and still spend time learning and improving.

Yes, our kids should take time to relax and recharge so they will feel refreshed for the new school year. They can spend this time vacationing, participating in sports, or volunteering.

However, there’s enough time within summer break that they can do all of these things and still have time to improve their test scores, grades, or key academic skills.

These days, parenting is hard. College admission trends are turbulent and increasingly competitive. And that competition places great pressure on our children. So as parents, we have to be smart and really think on how we are able to help our children deal with all of this pressure.

We have to ask ourselves hard questions: Is my child ready to handle the competition? Are they at the top of their class? Or are they struggling?

To be a top performer and a competitive college applicant, strategy is key. Summer break is a great time for you and your children to reflect on their progress in school so far, their areas of needs, and their academic and career goals.

Closeup of Young Woman Studying Outside


Q: How do I know if I should sign my child up for summer courses?

HERE’S WHAT MS. AHN SAYS…

There are a lot of variables in each child’s education! There’s a reason why we stress one-on-one academic counseling here at MEK Review, and that’s because each child is unique.

As a result, it’s important to ask all the right questions and really understand the student’s academic standing. Some students may need to study one specific subject to catch up with their peers. Other students may want to focus more on test-taking strategies to score well on any upcoming college admissions tests.

The best thing that you can do for your child is to think about where they are now, plus where they need to be to achieve success within the next school year. It’s also important to think about their long-term goals — which college they want to attend, and how they can be successful there.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there any subject or topic my child struggled with this year?  Is there any subject we want to improve on to prepare for next year?
  • Why is she behind? Why did she struggle? Was it a lack of understanding? Does she have poor study skills?
  • What is the next test my child will be taking to prepare for college admissions? Is it the SAT? ACT? AP exams? How will his test scores affect his college applications?
  • Are there any activities I want my child to try during summer break? Any community services?
  • Is the family taking any trips during summer break? For when and how long?

Then put all the answers together to come up with a strategic plan.

The four years that our kids spend as high school students is so important.

We want to let them just be children, but we also have to remind them that their scores can shape a lot of important decisions down the line — specifically involving college acceptance letters and scholarship decisions.

A smart academic plan coupled with such a long break could lead to huge jumps in your child’s academic progress! This is the time when a student’s summer can completely change his or her future.

Stack of books


Q: Once I have my plan, how do I choose which courses my student should take? Will these courses make a big difference in their upcoming school year?

HERE’S WHAT MS. AHN SAYS…

Once parents and their child decide on a strategy, they can prioritize what’s most important.

College test preparation should always be at the top of priorities during the summer. The skills required for successful test-taking is so different from what students practice in school! To see significant results, students need consistent test training. And when students can really focus on test-taking strategies and improve in their weaker subjects, they tend to see huge improvements!

Keep in mind, the late Summer or Fall SATs are great target test dates for students between their junior and senior years. Students can prepare for these tests during the summer without the demands of their classes. This actually helps reduce some of the stress that naturally comes with their senior year.

By signing up for college test prep courses in the summer, our students can devote their energies just to this and even conclude their summer with an official score in hand! It takes a student’s confidence to the next level if they can walk into the new school year with a great test score!

Beyond test prep, there are academic enrichment courses that prepare students for their upcoming Math and Science courses such as Biology, Physics, Geometry, and Calculus. Most school curriculums are compounded, meaning that a complete understanding of last year’s lessons is necessary to succeeding in the coming school year.

Whether your student is looking to stay on track or they want to get a head start advantage, summer courses help lay the foundation for a great school year by giving students the knowledge and skills they need.

Girl writing in notebook


What’s Next?

I’ve seen students grow a head taller over the summer. I’ve seen seen students change so much over summer break that I’ve hardly recognized them when they came back to MEK Review in the Fall! But just as children grow physically over the summer, they can develop tremendous academic growth too — if we give them the best resources to do so!

Talk to your child about where they were at the end of the last school year, and how they want to start off the upcoming school year, too.

Then, let’s come up with a strategy for your child’s summer academic plans. Together, we can use this season to set them up for a lifetime of success!

This summer, MEK Review is offering courses for students at all grade levels and needs:

  • Explore our College Test Prep to help your child boost their scores and conquer college admissions!
  • Explore our AP Course Prep to prepare for AP classroom success!
  • Explore our Exam Prep 8 course, offered ONLY in the Summer, to help your child prepare for BCA (and other top high schools).
  • Explore our HS Honors prep for classes such as Algebra 2, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and more — perfect for getting a head start for advanced classes in the Fall.
  • Seeking school success for younger grades? We have you covered with MEK Learning Circles, Non-Fiction Reading, and Mr. Ahn’s Perfect Circle.

Parents, let’s be smart and use this summer to change our child’s futures!

— Ann Ahn, Head Academic Counselor

Ann Ahn

Ann Ahn is the backbone and the spirit of MEK Review. Families know her not just as an expert counselor that has helped their child succeed, but also as a friend. She works tirelessly with parents, students, and the MEK staff to make sure every child is individually cared for, progressing, and achieving their academic goals.

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