How Many Credits per Semester Should I Take as a College Student?

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Everyone entering college plans to graduate by the end of four years. However, only around 45% of them will actually manage to stick to their plan and graduate in 4 years. This is, in part, due to the sheer amount of college credits required by various majors to graduate.

So, how many credits per semester should an aspiring graduate take to avoid having to tack more years onto their college education? Read on to learn more about the average college workload, what’s possible, and what’s reasonable during your college years.

What’s the Maximum Amount of Credits?

If you want to graduate early or attend college for a densely packed program, you’ll likely see a schedule packed to the maximum amount of credits in which you can enroll for a semester. For most schools, that’s 18, meaning that you’re spending at least 18 hours of every week in the classroom.

That doesn’t account for all the homework, papers, and other projects each class will need you to complete. Only shoot for this if you have an idea of how to study efficiently or top-tier time management skills.

How Many Credits per Semester Does the Average College Student Need?

Most college majors require around 120 course hours to graduate. Dividing this out over a presumed 8 semesters of attendance, it would require around 15 hours per semester to take all the courses you need to finish your major on time.

However, every major has different class requirements. For some technical or healthcare-related fields, you may need to study from these courses to complete your degree on time.

Your ability to graduate in 4 years may also get thrown off by the scheduling of a particular course. If, for instance, one of your general education classes exists in the same time block as a class required for your major, there may not be a way to get the course you need before that 4 year period ends.

How Can You Decide If You’re Taking Too Many College Credits?

How many credits per semester is too much for one student to take on? Generally, people don’t recommend taking more than 15 credits unless absolutely necessary. However, only you know how much work is too much for you.

Some things you may want to consider in your analysis include:

  • How much out-of-class work you have
  • Any desire you have for a social life
  • Whether or not you have a job outside of your schoolwork

If you have other demands on your time, consider lightening your course load.

Want to Develop Better Study Habits During Your College Career?

Now that you understand how many credits per semester the average college student should take, what’s next? Well, it’s important that you learn to build better study habits and a solid work ethic during your college career.

If you’d like tips and tricks designed to help you study smarter, not harder, then check out the Education section of our blog. We keep you posted with all the latest trends and advice from the academic field to set you up for success!