Wheather you’re new or experienced in the college scene, it can be a challenge knowing how many credit hours you should take. A lot of people make the mistake of taking too many credit hours to reach their goals quickly, while other people drag things out a little longer than they need. So, how many is too many and how do you know?
Before you sign up for your next semester, take a few minutes to reflect on your needs, your learning style, and your goals. If this is your first college semester, take it slow. Don’t take more than the bare minimum full-time load. If this is your first semester and you have a job, you might consider going to school part-time to acclimate to the lifestyle.
If this is not your first semester, consider how you felt the previous semester. Was your load too much, too little, or just right? You should take as many credit hours as you can confidently complete. Also, keep in mind any significant life changes you’re experiencing. If you’re planning on getting married, expecting a child, moving in with someone, starting a new job, or grieving the loss of a loved one, you might want to scale things back. However, if things are status quo and you feel like you could do more, then taking on a higher load is a good idea.
If you’re in a degree program, you may have less control over how many credit hours you can take per semester. Talk to your program advisor to make sure you’re registered for enough credit hours to keep you on track.
Some financial aid is dependant upon how many credit hours you take. Be sure to check your grants, loans, and scholarships to ensure that you are signed up for enough credits to maintain your assistance.
You should always take enough classes to push yourself to your target graduation. However, life happens. Sometimes it’s better to take a smaller semester and maintain a higher GPA than it is to tackle a heavy load and dash your grades to pieces. Consider what you have to take for your program and your financial aid, and then consider your life. Take as much as you can while still maintaining high grades and without stretching yourself too thin. Your life is more than your course load.