One of the first things you’ll probably notice in the transition from high school to college is the amount of time your behind will be in a desk in a classroom. Gone are the days of sitting in class 30 to 35 hours a week. For most of you, you’ll find yourself in a classroom probably about 12 to 15 hours a week. So much time! So much freedom! So much naps!
…Or so you might think…
At most institutions, full time status is 12 credits/credit hours/units/semester hours. Most students will take anywhere between 12 and 15 credit hours in a semester, which equates to about four to five classes. Credit hours are a unit of measurement that represents the amount of time you will be in class per week. (This will vary with online or hybrid courses.) For each credit hour you enroll in, generally speaking, you should spend 2-3 hours outside of the classroom working on coursework. You could be reading, taking notes, preparing for an exam, working on a graded assignment, doing practice problems, library research, working on a group project – I’m sure there’s more!
For each credit hour you enroll in, generally speaking, you should spend 2-3 hours outside of the classroom working on coursework.
In practice, you’ll find that some classes may need a little more and others need a little less. This will depend on any prior experience with the subject matter or interest level.
Therefore, if you take 12 credit hours, you should be spending 24-36 hours outside of the classroom on your coursework. Add that to the 12 hours you’re spending IN class and you get 36-48 hours! Just on school! Going to school full-time is equivalent to having a full-time job.
So, as you’re contemplating that part-time job or leadership responsibilities in your extracurriculars, take a few moments to think about how much time you’ll realistically be able to contribute to out-of-class work. Will your new responsibilities take valuable study time away from your school work? Do you have a plan for how to manage your time effectively? Do you have enough time budgeted for rest and self-care?
So what do you think – were you surprised at the amount of time you should be committing to your coursework? Do you spend the recommended amount of time on coursework out of class?