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12 Dec

Start in the Summer: A Grad School Timeline With Real Benefits

Man-In-Jean-Jacket-With-Glasses-And-Laptop-Sitting-On-Bench-In-Front-Of-Path-And-Water

If you’re just beginning to explore grad school application deadlines, you may be surprised to learn that the academic calendar at the graduate level may not be quite as rigid as you remember it from your undergraduate years. Many graduate programs, particularly master’s degree programs aimed toward working professionals, offer multiple opportunities to begin your studies throughout the year, including over the summer.

Beginning a degree program over the summer can put you on a grad school timeline that has some significant benefits over a more conventional fall start. Read on to learn why you may want to start a graduate program like William & Mary’s Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling while it’s warm and sunny outside.

Keep Grad School Out of the School Year

The academic year is a busy time for many people. If you work in an educational setting—perhaps you are pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling—your workload typically explodes in August and September as the school year kicks off once again. Or if you have children of your own, you’ll know how evenings in the fall can quickly fill up with homework assistance and after-school activities.

Beginning a graduate program in the summer term allows you to get your first several courses out of the way at a time when your responsibilities are relatively light. And if you are an educator, you might have the luxury of entire days of unstructured time during the summer in which you can ease yourself into your coursework.

Make Your Beach Reading Pay Off

One of the key benefits of an online graduate program is that you can take your coursework with you wherever you go. Let’s say you already have a vacation planned, but you’re anxious to hit the ground running in your graduate program: You can absolutely do both with a program like the Online M.Ed. in Counseling.

To be clear, we’re certainly not suggesting you should feel guilty about taking some time to travel and relax during the summer, or that all of your hours should be filled with work. But reading for your grad school classes while you’re lying on the beach or reclining in a hammock outside a lakeside cabin can help you get a leg up on your studies while you’re in a relaxed and optimistic frame of mind. And the benefits of this can last throughout the year: If your first experience with graduate school coursework is a positive one, you can train yourself to approach it with confidence and excitement rather than as a chore.

Sharpen Your Study Skills While You Have the Time

Many new students in master’s degree programs have been away from the classroom for a number of years. If you have spent a significant amount of time outside an academic setting, you may be worried that your study skills are a bit rusty, especially those needed to complete final papers and projects at the end of your first term.

If you follow a conventional academic calendar and begin grad school during the fall term, your first serious bout of finals will occur during the hectic holiday season, when it’s common to be bogged down with travel, hosting and other obligations. But if you enter grad school over the summer, your first term will likely end in August, when your final assignments won’t compete with as many other responsibilities. By managing your stress level early on, you can set yourself up for success throughout the remainder of your master’s degree program.

Williamsburg Is Beautiful in the Summer

The curriculum for the Online M.Ed. in Counseling program features two on-campus residencies, with one occurring before the required 100-clock-hour practicum experience and the other before the 600-clock-hour internship. If you time it right, you can ensure that at least one of these on-campus events occurs during a beautiful time of the year on William & Mary’s historic campus in Williamsburg, VA.

Meeting your counseling classmates and faculty when the trees are green and the weather warm can put you all in the frame of mind to build positive, meaningful relationships with one another. And a successful, engaging residency experience can put you in the right frame of mind to thrive in the rigorous in-person training that follows.


Start on the Path to a Meaningful Counseling Career This Summer

The Online Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Counseling at William & Mary offers the opportunity to begin your studies during the summer to help you create the ideal path for you toward a successful career as a licensed professional counselor.

Learn more about our concentrations in School Counseling and Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), as well as the Military and Veterans Counseling specialization within CMHC. And explore our upcoming application deadlines and start dates to start crafting a grad school timeline that works for you.