Scheduling Your College Classes
Full-time or part-time? That is the question. Twelve credit hours or more is considered full-time (four to six classes). Making it to class everyday is the easy bit because the real work begins when you walk through the door of your home–all day, and all night; it’s called homework. You still want to go?
84 percent of Americans say that higher education is extremely important. 66 percent of non-college graduates wish they had gone*.
Can’t fit going to college into your schedule as a nontraditional student? Consider night or weekend classes. You can take a few classes after work or in your spare time. Most colleges offer this option. But be forewarned, the likelihood of you rolling out of bed on a Saturday or Sunday morning is not highly probable. Night classes can also be a drag if you’re in bed by nine o’clock or have children who aren’t old enough to entertain themselves.
If you just can’t manage to afford anything else trumping up in your already hectic schedule, consider online college courses, otherwise known as distance learning, so you can take college courses at home. Parlaying on the sofa with your laptop, eating chocolate truffles while chugging down a beer, is the right way to listen to a professor’s lecture. So if you get bored, you can just tell him or her that your computer crashed (disclaimer: I am not responsible for the outcome if you pull this fast one). In most cases, you will get your assignments via the college’s Web site or sent via student email. You can even take your exams from your home. However, some colleges may require you to come into the institution for exams or have them proctored from another institution. Sure, online classes are convenient, but don’t think for a second that your homework load will be just as forgiving. In fact, several nontraditional college students who have taken online classes have told me that these courses are much harder than the traditional courses.
You also have the option of going to summer school, so you can graduate faster, not that you don’t enjoy your peers. Time is something that’s valuable to you. You’d like to be out of there before you start collecting from your retirement fund. Don’t you?
Even better, you can get your entire college degree online. Read more about online distance learning.
If things start falling apart in your life, missing a few days per semester is normal. And for the most part, built into the system. Some colleges allow up to eight class hours of absence, approximately six to eight days per semester.
Some colleges don’t mind if students don’t show up at all, as long as exams and assignments have passing grades. But lectures are important. Oftentimes, you won’t have to study as hard as you would have if you didn’t attend regularly. In all likelihood, the professor will review the same materials that are in the textbook. You’ll read it once and hear it again.
Once you’ve chosen a schedule, get a campus map because it will take some time to familiarize yourself with the college campus. You’re guaranteed to lose 15 minutes each day, circling around to the spot you left five minutes prior. Not only that, if you’ve got a bum knee or back, you’ll need to cut yourself some slack.
* Immerwahr, John. Foleno, Tony. “Great Expectations: How the Public and Parents-White, African-American and Hispanic View Higher Education.” National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, Public Agenda, Consortium for Policy Research in Education, National Center for Postsecondary Improvement. May 2000.