Surviving College

Course Load

Course Load is the total number of credit hours in which you enroll in for a semester. Consider restrictions imposed by financial aid, scholarships, and your own commitments. Advisors usually suggest that full-time new students stick to around 12 credit hours their first semester.

Course Load Guidelines

Fall/Winter Semesters:

Full-time = 12 - 18 credit hours per semester
Half-time = 6 - 11 credit hours per semester
Less that half-time = 5 or less credit hours per semester

Spring/Summer Terms:

Full-time = 6 - 9 credit hours per term
Half-time = 3 - 5 credit hours per term
Less than half-time = 1 or 2 credit hours per term

Course Load recommendation

For every one credit hour in which you enroll, you will spend approximately two to three hours outside of class studying. Therefore, to help determine the course load most appropriate for you, use the formula:

3 credit hours (1 course) = 3 hours in class per week = 6-9 hours study time per week.

12 credit hours (4 courses) = 12 hours in class per week = 24-36 hours study time per week.

Full time students enroll in 12 - 18 credit hours per semester. Part time students enroll in 1 - 11 credit hours per semester. The course load that is best for you depends on a variety of factors, such as other commitments, study skills, time management skills, and self discipline. To determine the course load which is most appropriate for you, please refer to the guidelines indicated:

Employment Obligations: Course Load if Working

40 hrs per week -- 3-5 credit hours
30 hrs per week -- 3-9 credit hours
20 hrs per week -- 6-12 credit hours
Less than 20 hrs -- 12-18 credit hours

How many courses should I take?

I work ____ hours per week. Therefore, I should take ____ credit hours.

It is important to remember that there are only 24 hours in each day and only 168 hours in each week. It is common for college students to try to participate in more activities than their time allows and, as a result, perform poorly in many of the activities. Unfortunately, this poor performance often includes school work. Make your choices with all possible variables being considered.

University vs. High School: what to expect

         High School        College
Class Time               6 hours per day.   12 hours per week. 
Study Time   Around 1-2 hours per day.   Rule of Thumb: 2 hours of study per 1 hour of class; if going full time (12 hours), that equals 24 hours of studying per week, AND don't forget your part-time or full-time job! That could easily add up to more than 40 hours a week!
Tests   Weekly at end of chapter quizzes.   2 to 4 each semester; at end of a 4 chapter unit pop quizzes on the Monday after homecoming! And don't forget those finals that count as 50% or more of your final course grade!
Grades   Passing grades (even D's) usually get you by.   To stay off academic probation or even suspension you must keep a C average! C's or better are usually okay.
Teachers   Many times take attendance, may check notebooks, use chalkboard, imparts knowledge and facts, teach the text.   Known as "Professors"; Rarely teach the text; often lecture nonstop without white boards, etc.; require research; require thinking beyond the facts; rarely take attendance.
Free Time   Usually structured, parents, teachers and other adults set your limits.   This is the single greatest problem among most college students: IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to set YOUR limits; design your hours of study, class, work, sleep, etc! 

Homework, Study, and Test Taking Tips

Follow this link to This a great site where you can find links to great study guides, study tips, controlling stress, and memory training.

Follow this link to CalPoly.Edu. This is a very helpful site where you can gain information on memorization, listening, note taking, test preparation, time management, plus much more.