Five Tips for Managing 8-Week Courses

8-week courses are intense, but mastering them can help you get ahead in your schooling. Here are some tips on how.

GettyImages-1072383570 Getty

You’re busy. How do I know that? It’s not a difficult guess. Most of us are fairly busy nowadays; people to talk to, things to do, etc. Yes, the pandemic has slowed us all down, but in general most people move at a breakneck pace. That means, even if you want to go back to school, or continue in school, you may not have the time. Enter the 8-week course.

The 8-week course is the best way to get through a lot, in a little. You’re going through an entire course load in just two months. It sounds stressful, and indeed it can be, but it’s also a great way to learn if you’re in a hurry. And aren’t we all. But how to properly manage it? A course in 8-weeks is unfamiliar to many students unless they’ve taken summer school (in high school). It’s a new prospect to tailor learning strategies and try to fit them into a new time window. Besides, everyone prepares and studies differently, thus making the task of giving all-purpose advice a bit more difficult. That being said, there are a few tips for how to mentally approach your 8-week courses to take full advantage of the excellent learning opportunity they afford.

Check Out Coastline's Course Catalog! Get Started Now!

GettyImages-1217611723 Getty

Does the 8-Week Course Suit You?

Because an 8-Week course meets more times per week or has more reading and requirements to satisfy each week, it’s more intense; you’re squeezing more into less, it’s that simple. That sounds like a bad thing until you realize that the squeezing actually allows you to spend more time with the material per week. Plus, the quick pace of work will keep you moving and grooving, which works for lots of busy students. Because you might be taking just one or two other classes at a time you have the chance to really lean into the subject and coursework.

But that intensity isn’t necessarily for everyone. Before you enroll in an 8-week course think about the intensity and whether you have the time and, perhaps, the energy for it. I would also say that 8 weeks goes by quickly, quicker than you expect. So if you’re uncertain, it may be worth it to dive in anyway. But then, there’s nothing worse than starting the course and then being unable to finish based on other obligations commanding your attention. In any event, do some reflecting beforehand!

Coastline's Course Catalog Has All the Courses You Need to Start Learning Today!

GettyImages-1212900807 Getty

Be Flexible

This one is important, especially at the beginning of the course. Each professor is a bit different. They have different assignment due dates and expectations. Being flexible at the start, both in your calendar and in your own expectations, will set you up for success.

This 2016 Forbes article lays out the benefits of flexible work in a study conducted within a Fortune 500 company: “employees who were placed on a flexibility program were both happier at work and less prone to burnout and psychological stress than their colleagues who were not on the program.” As the pandemic has dragged on, more and more companies and individuals (as Forbes reports) recognize the value of being flexible with your work and the same can be said of school too.

Flexible Education is the Future! Learn from Anywhere @ Coastline!

GettyImages-1255940816 Getty

Create a Routine

Technically this goes against the previous section. You were flexible before, but the deeper into the course you go, the more important it becomes to create a routine. This can’t be emphasized enough: routine, routine, routine! With a routine in hand, you’ll be able to tackle the course as it shifts from assignment to assignment and test to test.

The way to create a routine varies from person to person. One approach involves list-making: write down what you need to get done that day or week for your class, what you need to get done for your other stuff, and meet in the middle between the two. You’ll never necessarily get it all done, but when you write it down, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Check Out Coastline's Course Catalog! Get Started Now!

GettyImages-1204044612 Getty

Find Balance

Dr. Vince Rodriguez, Coastline’s Vice-President of Instruction, recommends students look for balance in their 8-week courses. “Balance your workload” by taking two 8-Week courses, then taking another two, to round out a standard 16-week semester. Or, take one 8-week course while taking three 16-week courses.

At the end of the 8-week course, enroll in another 8-week course so you’re still managing a full course load. In the first example, you take the same number of courses, learning the same as well, as someone engaged in a standard 4-class, 16-week semester; however, you’ll only be taking on two classes at once. This kind of balance keeps you on track and minimizes stress so you don’t end up “juggling as much,” as Dr. Rodriguez aptly pointed out.

Coastline's Course Catalog Has All the Courses You Need to Start Learning Today!

GettyImages-1220356602 Getty

Talk to Your Professors

This bit of advice is never not relevant. Keeping your professors updated is always important, but specifically for an 8-week or shorter course, Dr. Rodriguez suggested that students be extra careful to keep professors apprised. Too much happens each week in an 8-week course to fall behind so if emergencies or plans arise that inhibit you from doing your work one week talk to your professor ahead of time, let them know the situation, and work out the best way to stay on top of the course material.

Flexible Education is the Future! Learn from Anywhere @ Coastline!

GettyImages-1257206941 Getty

Wrappin' It Up

8-week courses are a great way to learn quickly and can be beneficial for busy people managing a job and family. The shorter duration, the intensive workload, and the ability to take two courses versus a full four all add up to win-win for the busy student. But only if said busy student knows how to adapt their learning strategies. The above tips will help you succeed.


Read On