Balancing School / Work / Life

To ensure success, choose a course load that complements your other obligations and take courses taught in various formats that work with your learning style. The formats include:

  • Faculty designed independent study (FDIS)
  • Classroom
  • Online with reduced seat time
  • Completely online

Not all courses are offered in every format. Many courses, including online courses, require group work that builds collaboration and team building skills.

Special Considerations

  • Students pursuing more than 16 credits must request approval from an academic advisor; approval is granted or denied based on various advising factors.
  • Financial aid considers at least 6 credits to be part-time and at least 12 credits to be full-time.
  • International students must register for a minimum of 12 credits to be full-time students and are allowed to register for only one course that may be completed from a distance.

To plan an appropriate course load, determine how you will balance your weekly schedule. Consider family commitments, work schedule, homework, class time, study time, and commuting time. Plan to study at least 12–16 hours a week for a 4-credit course (and more if you want a higher grade).

For example, if your course meets three hours each week, set aside a minimum of twelve hours of study time per week for that one course. If you are enrolled in an independent study or online course, plan on more time to study to make up the class time. Use the online tool for developing a schedule to realistically determine the amount of credits you could take, given all the other responsibilities in your busy life.

In planning your schedule, consider whether the course is lower or upper division, the rigor of the course and your academic preparation—for example:

  • Is it a subject area that you enjoy or that you find difficult?
  • What are the expectations of the instructor?
  • How much work is implied by the syllabus?
  • Is the course online? (Online courses commonly take more time because of the reading and writing required in place of classroom attendance.)

Consider how you want to balance school, work and home while you plan your program in the next module.