Summer School sounds like such a great idea—get through some units quickly! Who wouldn’t like that? Well, the reality is that once the sun comes out Summer school no longer seems like such a good idea. Allow me to give you some words of advice.
Go to class! Yes, this is so old school of me, but actually coming to class can help you with your understanding of the material, get to hear what the instructor has to say, and you also have the opportunity to hear the discussion between the instructor and your classmates.
Do the reading! Oh, I know that this is tedious. The materials are assigned for a good reason. You can read them on the beach, whilst you dip your toes in the warm sand or right before you retire for the evening. Just make sure that you review the course materials. If you have a book assigned—always read the preface or introduction, even if it’s not assigned. The pre-matter helps set up the book and it might offer you the epiphany you need prior to reading the longer chapters.
Go to office hours! Yes, this is not merely for the student who does not understand the material or wants to endear him/herself to the instructor. Office hours is a great place to get to know your instructor better and for the instructor to get to know you and your learning style better. This can make a difference.
Study. I already suggested reading the course materials, but studying is something entirely different. If the class has exams or papers, the instructor assumes that you have done more than a skim of the materials. You need to understand the materials and demonstrated comprehension about them. And, here is where studying comes into play. This might include you reviewing the questions at the end of the chapter or looking at the “for future reference” materials or websites.
This last suggestion was really useful for me in graduate school—look through the index. Notice the sorts of words/concepts that are indexed and choose some to re-read again. This can cement the ideas—oh, like a splinter into your mind that you will pull out during the most opportune time. (I just had to throw in a Matrix reference there).
The last thing—care. Seriously. You don’t have to earn an A or shoot for the A, but treat the entire course experience like it matters and you will most likely be more successful. Remember that going to college is a privilege. You might already be keenly aware of this, but in case you’re not—remember that someone would love to trade spots with you and sit in a classroom, read books and articles and write assignments.