Summer Sessions in the USA

Driving down Highway 1 by car, listening to concerts in Central Park, watching the hippie flea markets in San Francisco or surfing the big waves on Hawaii – the list of possible leisure activities for a summer in the USA seems endless.

Experience summer in the USA

In the west, the golden beaches, the blue Pacific Ocean and the relaxed lifestyle of California entice. Whether Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco – all these cities have their own flair.

On the Atlantic coast in the east there are countless white sandy beaches, small tranquil coastal towns and spectacular amusement parks. Many inhabitants of the metropolises New York or Boston are recovering from the heat and hustle and bustle of the cities on the beaches close to the city. Shady parks, street cafés and rooftop bars invite you to relax. All this can be experienced during a summer session in the USA.

Summer sessions in the USA in the fact-check

You dream of spending an unforgettable summer in the USA? Then a summer school in the USA is an attractive option for you. We clarify exactly what the Summer Sessions are all about in the fact-check:

  • Designations: Summer Sessions, Summer School, Summer University, Summer College, Summer Courses
  • Type of study: Compressed semester abroad, trial period abroad, study abroad „on trial“.
  • Provider: US universities
  • Period: Summer months May to September
  • Duration: three to six weeks

Reasons for a summer session in the USA

Summer sessions in the USA are a very popular way to spend time abroad. In the summer months, many international students flock to US universities. There are many reasons for participating in a summer session in the USA.

Dare to look beyond one’s own nose

The courses offered are not as large during the summer months as during the regular semester. Nevertheless, during summer sessions in the USA, several hundred courses from all kinds of fields are often offered. International students can choose between courses such as Biochemistry, Ethnicity and Race in Contemporary American Films or Multinational Finance and Trade.

A summer session in the USA is an ideal opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and get to know non-subject areas. In this way, new knowledge can be acquired that can serve as an inspiration for further studies.

Summer Sessions USA without vacation semester

For international students, summer sessions in the USA are a unique opportunity to spend a condensed semester abroad in the USA during their semester break. Unlike other study programmes, it is not necessary to allow for longer study periods.

Since during a few weeks the same material is taken through as in a regular semester, the summer sessions in the USA are tightly organized. Usually, students take only two or three courses per summer session. Most courses require attendance and there are regular homework assignments. The achievements are reviewed in the form of essays and written examinations and evaluated with credit points. At the end of the Summer Session, students receive Grade Reports listing their achievements.

Recognition made easy

Participants are largely free to choose their courses from the full range of Summer Sessions. This gives them the opportunity to adapt their curriculum to their home country’s curriculum. The study achievements made during the Summer Sessions in the USA can be credited towards studies in Germany in agreement with the home university.

Trial studies for pupils and high school graduates

Summer sessions in the USA are not only an interesting option for students, but also for high school graduates and pupils. Some universities offer summer programmes for senior high school students aged 16 and older, some of them for even younger students. These are usually shorter than regular summer schools and some of the courses are specially designed for students.

Many students use this opportunity to get a taste of campus air and improve their English skills during the summer holidays in Germany.

Surfin‘ USA – Leisure and international contacts

If you take part in a summer session in the USA, you will of course also have the chance to get to know the country and its people. Although the timetable is often tightly knitted, there is plenty of time to explore the surrounding nature and explore the cities.

As the Summer Sessions are popular with students and pupils all over the world, participants will also get to know young people from all over the world. At the same time, they have the opportunity to train their intercultural skills.

Terms and Conditions for Summer Sessions USA

The hurdles to attend a summer session in the USA are lower than for full time students. This even applies to elite universities such as UC Berkeley, UCLA or Boston University. The following admission requirements apply in principle:

  • Minimum age: 18 years; exceptions for universities with special programmes for pupils
  • Graduation: Abitur or technical baccalaureate; the average grade is secondary
  • Good command of English: Proof of IELTS or TOEFL; in some cases, letters of recommendation from the home university or good to very good grades in the upper secondary school are sufficient. Some universities, such as the UC Berkeley, completely forego formal proof of language proficiency in German-speaking summer-session applicants.

The question of costs and financing

Study programmes in the USA represent a financial burden for international students. Participation in a summer session in the USA is also free of charge. These vary depending on the institution of higher education, the study programme, the type and number of courses selected. If two courses are booked, US$ 2,500 – 6,000 are considered as a rough guide for tuition fees.

Living in the USA

In addition to the tuition fees for a summer session in the USA, the cost of living is added. Many universities offer students the opportunity to stay in student residences or apartments owned by the university during the summer sessions. Some universities offer a full range of accommodation and meals. Alternatively, it is possible to find a private accommodation. This must be organised independently. The rental costs depend on the local conditions.

Opportunities for funding for Summer Sessions in the USA

Unfortunately, there are only a few scholarship programmes for the summer sessions in the USA. Some foundations support participation in certain courses. So it may be worthwhile to look for possible sponsors.

Those who finance their studies through a student loan or education fund can find out from the bank or the organisation whether special payments for stays abroad are possible.

But even without financial support, a summer program in the USA is often cheaper than a semester abroad due to the lower tuition fees and shorter length of stay.

Interesting facts about visa and health insurance USA

Whoever participates in a full-time study program in the USA needs a student visa (F-1). This application should be submitted to the American Embassy or Consulate in good time before departure. With an F-1 visa, it is open to students,

  • 30 days before the start of the Summer Session or
  • to stay in the USA for another 60 days after the end of the summer session, for example to travel.

In order to participate in a summer session in the USA, international students require health insurance for the USA. Many universities offer insurance packages with enrolment for the Summer Sessions. A foreign health insurance policy taken out in Germany is often the cheaper option. There is no provision for special travel vaccinations.