College Basics

How Many Hours Should I Take?

Many students take a “full course load” of 12 hours or more to receive full financial aid or to complete their degree in a timely way. However, many do not understand the time commitment of a full course load. A full-time load is equivalent to a full-time job or 40 hours of work per week.course calculator link

12 credits = 12 contact hours + 24 study hours = 36 hours per week of work

Here is what you need to know before committing to a full-time load:

  • Most learning occurs outside of class, independent of the teacher. This requires a high level of time commitment.
  • The general rule is that for every hour spent in class, a student spends two hours outside of class reading, studying, and completing assignments. Many students take on too much at once and score poorly or drop courses. This could lead to a financial loss, feeling of failure, or a loss of financial aid.

Students should become champions of course planning and advising. This is not something to take lightly. Plan carefully what is needed for graduation and when it needs to be completed. This will also help students see the big picture and make informed decisions on what course load to commit to.

The commitment of college courses requires letting go of other activities in life. This is a challenging reality, and many students fall into the trap of thinking they can do it all! Through being fully informed and making wise time choices, school can be a short-term endeavor with life-long rewards!