How Many Classes To Take Each Semester Of Your College Career
Going from high school to college is a big adjustment. One minute your entire day is planned for you, from early morning to mid-afternoon. Bells tell you when one class ends and another begins. You have some choices between music, art, cooking, shop and other classes. For the most part, though, theres not much to think about when it comes to your daily schedule.
College is a whole different story. The good news is that what you take is almost all up to you once youve submitted your online college application, received the offer, and accepted. The bad news is, youre going to be left asking, How many classes should I take a semester? Theres no simple answer to that question, especially because there is a difference between How many classes do you take in college?, How many classes can you take in college?, and How many classes does the average college student take per semester? With all of that to think about you may feel like youve been thrown into the deep end of the pool. We are here to help.
For help with other questions like this one, check out our articles on the average class times of college courses, how college credits work according to your schedule, and help with answering, What does a college schedule look like?
But right now, get out your phone and open your favorite calendar app. Its time to make a plan.
Taking 4 Classes First Semester
< p> Hi – I’m a rising college Freshman and am currently registering for my first semester of classes. So far, I have to tackle the 5 or so general ed requirements I have left over after AP and Dual Enrollment credit. As of right now – my schedule is as follows:< /p>
< p> Monday/Wednesday/Friday9:00 – 9:50 AM – Honors English 11:00 – 11:50 – Gender in American Society 12:00 – 12:50 – Principles of Latin 101 < /p>
< p> Tuesday/Thursday9:30 – 10:45 – Popular Culture in America11:00 – 12:15 – Introduction to Environmental Science< /p>
< p> Yesterday during my Orientation, my advisor told me that a lot of students only take 4 classes their Freshman fall semester to allow them an easier transition into college – she said that more often than not, students who opt for 4 classes rather than 5 their first semester do better GPA-wise. < /p>
< p> I am on a full scholarship – the scholarship covers 5.5 years of study so long as I maintain a 3.0 GPA and take a minimum of 12 credits a semester. I’ve already knocked out about 1.5 semesters worth of study with previous credits. If I take 4 classes this semester, I can still graduate on time . < /p>
< p> If I dropped a class, I’d probably drop Gender and find an earlier Latin class so that there wasn’t a huge gap between English and Latin. I’m a commuter student and will be taking public transportation from home to the school, so big breaks won’t allow me to go home and I’ll more than likely be stuck at school during that time. < /p>
< p> Thoughts?< /p>
What To Expect Your First Semester
First, congratulations on getting into college! All that hard work you put into getting into a postsecondary degree program is about to pay off-youre on your way. Are you curious about what you can expect during that first semester in college? No matter where, when, or how you start your postsecondary journey, that first semester is new for everyone.
Below are pro-tips, warnings, and some fun facts about what college life looks like in your first semester! We cover things like professors, living on campus, freedom, and responsibilities, scheduling your time, getting connected, finances, and some potential challenges. And when youre ready, we also created a College Resource Index, to help you store all this useful information for your own institution or degree program.
The following tips and best practices can be useful for both rising high school seniors and recent high school graduates. If you are a current high school junior or rising high school senior, check out the Rising High School Senior Summer Task List below!
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Fewer Classes Increases Your Chances Of Getting A High Grade
Enrolling in fewer classes will allow you to devote more time to them. When you take one or two classes, you can really focus on them because you dont have to spread yourself too thin.
This can increase your chances of doing well and earning a better grade. If you can devote only a limited time to studying, you are better off taking fewer classes and acing them, instead of taking lots of classes and barely passing.
Check For Compulsory Courses
Some colleges have a compulsory set of courses referred to as the General Education requirements that their students need to take before graduation. They could be in subjects such as mathematics, English, writing, and history. Being aware of these courses will help you structure your classes and total workload in such a way that it adds those compulsory courses without affecting your main courses. That leads us to the next point.
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Pros And Cons Of Part
There are some definite upsides to being a full-time student if your schedule allows it. If you are a full-time student, you are more likely to:
- Graduate on time or even possibly ahead of schedule
- Have fewer semesters in college
- Have greater access to scholarships
- Receive more Pell Grant money at one time
- Have the option to live on campus
There are some downsides to full-time student status as well. If you are a full-time student, youll probably have:
- Less time for work
- Less free time, especially if you have to work as well
- Higher tuition costs at one time
- Heavier course loads
Just as there are pros and cons of being a full-time student, there are also pros and cons of being a part-time student. If you are a part-time student, youll probably have:
- The ability to work full-time and still have some free time
- A lighter course load
- A more flexible schedule
- Smaller tuition amounts required at one time
There are disadvantages to being a part-time student as well, though. If you are a part-time student, you:
- May need more time to earn your degree
- May not be eligible for scholarships
- May receive less or no federal Pell Grant money
- Are likely ineligible for campus residency
Weighing the pros and cons of being a full-time or part-time student can help you decide which one is right for you. Your schedule and home life will likely play significant parts in making this decision.
Meet With Your Advisor
Dont be intimidated by your advisor. Your academic advisor is there to help you not only schedule courses, but also with finding a study group, discussing whether you should change majors, and can tell you which professors may be suitable to your academic needs.
Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the USfor FREE!
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Take A Class That Sparks Your Interest
Your freshman year is the perfect time to try and take a course that you are truly interested in. Always wanted to learn how to make clay pottery? Sign up! Interested in paleontology but dont necessarily want to major in it? Give it a shot. Elective courses that spark your interest are a great way to burn off a little pent-up energy as well as provide a creative outlet and quench your curiosity thirst.
What Are The 9 Easiest College Classes For Success
College classes can be tough, but they dont always have to be! Theres a chance that youve asked yourself, What are the easiest college classes? because you want to boost your GPA or you just want to take it easy. No matter your reason for wanting to take some of the easiest college classes, you can make it a reality by exploring some of these options.
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Freshman Year: Which College Courses Should You Take
There are many ways to select a set of courses for your first year as a college student. Some universities give out a suggested list of courses, others simply give three or four options that freshman can choose from . Others still email a link to incoming students that leads to an online book of what seems like hundreds if not thousands of courses with codes like Math 102 and Social Science 53D. Some universities will walk new students through each and every step while others want students to take their own initiative to ask for help. Some simply dont have the time to sit down with every student individually. So where does that leave you? Regardless of where or what you are studying, there are a few universal rules to the freshman year courses .
How Many Classes You Should Take As A Freshman
Freshman year is your introduction to college. That means every part, not just classes: living away from home , feeding and clothing yourself, having more free time and more social freedom, balancing classes with jobs, activities, athletics, and so on. Colleges are aware of this, and the expectations for freshman year are a little different.
At most schools, you wont be expected to choose a major right away. It can depend on the school, but many wont require it until your second year. That means youll probably spend most of your classroom time as a freshman working on your general education requirements or gen eds.
Gen eds are set courses that colleges decide are so important that everyone must take them before they can graduate. College students often feel gen eds are a chore to get through because they have no choice in taking them. But thankfully, more and more campuses are redesigning their general education programs to give you more options and make even your required courses valuable to your interests. For example, check out North Central Colleges Cardinal Directions program, which lets you organize your gen eds under one larger topic that you follow throughout your undergrad.
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Find Your Academic Placements In English And Math
- Math: Check your Navigate Academic Plan in the Online Center created for you by the Academic Advising & Transfer Center as part of your orientation to see if math is required. Take ALEKS in your online center if it is.
- English: Check your Navigate Academic Plan in the Online Center created for you by the Academic Advising & Transfer Center as part of your orientation.
Cant find your Academic Plan? Call us at for assistance.
Take At Least Two Mandatory Courses
Take at least two required courses in your first term. For math you will probably be able to choose between Algebra and statistics. Unless you are a math major take the one that will be easiest for you. Ask if the course is graded on a curve. English composition is required for all students and so you likely wont have a choice of classes.
Most majors have a lower division requirement, which you will need to take in your freshman or sophomore year. For you science credit you will likely get to choose between biology, chemistry, anthropology, geology etc Get two of these mandatory classes out of the way in your first term.
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Determine The Number Of Credit Hours You Need To Graduate
Another thing to consider when trying to choose the number of classes to take is how many credits you need to earn a degree. The number of credits will depend on the major you are enrolled in.
For example, if you are in a community college, an AA or AS degree would require anything from sixty to seventy credits to earn your degree. In the college I attended, you need seventy credits to earn a nursing degree.
But, it doesnt end there. You still have to consider how many prerequisite courses you have to take. Also, if you have been out of college for a long time, or an older adult going back to college for the first time, you may have to take some developmental classes as well.
As you can see, you may need a lot more than sixty or seventy credits to earn a degree from a community college. You need a lot more if you attend a four-year college or university.
So, this is something to think about when you are trying to choose the number of classes to take , for your first semester and beyond.
What To Expect Your First Semester Of Community College
Grace ChenChoose the appropriate classes
- 2 English composition courses
- 2 or 3 courses in social and behavioral sciences
- 2 or 3 classes in humanities
Students who begin planning their transfer from the first semester of community college have higher rates of transfer success than those who do not. On the other hand, if you are not planning to transfer to a four-year institution, it is important that you still plan to fulfill the pre-requisites for your major, ensuring that you can graduate and enter the workforce on time.
Do not overestimate your level of academic preparation
According to PACE, many students become discouraged in the first semester because they overestimated their level of preparation and thus, did not perform as academically well as they anticipated.
Balance your work schedule and school commitmentsPlanning for social commitments
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What If I Have Some Open Course Slots
As you can see, some students’ schedules are largely set for their first semester: if you are a prospective biology major who would like to fulfill the foreign language requirement, for example, you will need to take FYI 101, FYI 100, Chemistry 131, and the 101 course of a second language.
The majority of students, though, will have one or two courses they can choose from a large menu of classes. How do you decide which classes to take?
There are two things to keep in mind. First, and most importantly, you should seek out a class that looks interesting. Have you wondered what an art history class would be like but have never had a chance to take one? Have you thought about political science as a major but don’t really know what a political science course covers? Would you like to continue your study of Spanish or German? Are you fascinated by African culture, or do you love literature, or always wanted to learn to act?
There are many courses at Augustana that you might not have had a chance to take before — the first year is your chance to explore your interests and ambitions, and in doing so, explore the curriculum.
To explore requirements for specific majors, see Areas of Study.
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The end of summer leading into your first year of college can be an incredibly hectic time. From planning for move-in day to trying to enjoy those last few days of summer with your friends, it can seem as if there just arent enough hours in the day. One important aspect of a clean transition to college that often gets overlooked is preparing for class registration. You want your first foray into college academics to be a success, and a huge part of that is having a good schedule with great classes. We at CollegeVine have compiled a quick guide on how to prepare for class registration and what factors to consider when making your schedule.
So you know exactly what you want you major in?
If youre one of those people who knows exactly what you want to study, then we have one word for you: prerequisites. Its never a bad idea to get a jump on chipping away at your major, and its important to get early exposure to your chosen field in order to be sure that it truly is what you want to dedicate your time to. That being said, the sooner you get those intro-level prerequisite classes out of the way, the sooner youll be able to move on to more advanced classes as you strive to master your craft.
So you have no idea what you want to study?
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More Support More Classes
If you are a mom or single parent, you can take more classes if you have a reliable support system. A support system makes it easier to take as many classes as youd like.
If you are a single parent with no support system, consider taking only a few classes at a time. This is true whether you attend an online college or not. If you dont have someone to watch your kids when you have to go to class or study, you are going to have a time getting through lots of classes.
So, the more support you have, the more classes you can take.
Think About How Long The Class Is
How many classes you should take also depend on how long the classes are. For example, 8-week classes are going to be more intense than 16-week classes.
If you are taking short-format classes, consider taking only a few at a time. I have seen some students attempt up to three or four classes in the summer. Summer classes usually run for six weeks, so taking three or four at a time can be pretty brutal.
So, think about how long the classes are before you decide how many you should take.
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