As you embark on your higher education journey, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is determining the number of classes to take each semester. Striking the right balance is vital not only to your academic success, but also to maintaining a healthy balance of your well-being and overall college experience. Join us as we explore the factors that can influence your choice, thoroughly explain how many classes you take in college, and help you make an informed decision in that regard.

How Many Classes Do You Take in College?


There isn’t a simple one-size-fits-all answer to this, as everyone has their unique circumstances, learning preferences, specific degree program requirements, and credit hours required for graduation that affect the workload they can take per semester. For full-time enrollment, you will typically need to earn 12-15 credit hours, which translates into taking four to five classes per semester. On the other hand, for part-time enrollment, you will need to earn fewer than 12 credit hours per semester, which means taking three or less classes per semester. In total, you will need 120 to 130 credit hours to complete a bachelor’s degree program.

What to Consider When Choosing Your College Classes?

When choosing your college classes, there are several factors you should take into account to make sure that you’re not only making the right decision, but also that you’re meeting your academic requirements. 

College Requirements

One of the critical factors in choosing your college classes is understanding your college requirements, as each major has additional unique requirements like language credits or certain courses you need to take. Therefore, it’s crucial that you:

  • Pay attention to prerequisites for advanced courses to plan your sequence of classes effectively
  • Be aware of any general education requirements you may need to fulfill
  • Familiarize yourself with your degree requirements, including core courses, elective options, and major requirements

College Credits 

It is equally important for you to consider the credit hours associated with each class. Full-time enrollment often requires a specific number of credit hours, usually 12-15 credits per semester, with each class being worth three credit hours. This means you will have to take four to five classes per semester. Choosing more classes means you will be able to fulfill the necessary credits to graduate earlier. However, you should also not overload yourself with challenging courses in one semester, so as to maintain a healthy balance of learning and self-care.

Career Goals

Another factor to consider when choosing your classes are your career goals. You need to reflect on your academic and career goals and select classes that align with your interests and aspirations. In your future career, courses that enhance your skills and broaden your knowledge can be beneficial, even if they are not directly related to your major. If you are not entirely sure what you want to major in, you can explore a variety of classes to help you make an informed decision.

Last but not least, you need to read course descriptions and syllabi to understand the content and requirements of each class, consider the student reviews about professors’ teaching styles, and seek a balance between challenging and ones where you can excel.

Taking Classes as a Full-Time and Part-Time Student

The main difference between full-time and part-time students is the number of credit hours they enroll in during a semester. A full-time student is typically enrolled in 12-15 credit hours per semester, whereas a part-time student takes fewer than 12 credit hours. Furthermore, full-time students have a more structured schedule and a focused commitment to their studies. In contrast, part-time students have more flexibility in their schedules to balance different responsibilities and can study at a slower pace. 

When deciding between full-time and part-time enrollment, it’s crucial to consider factors like work commitments, family obligations, financial considerations, and academic goals. 

How to Manage College Workload?

College workload can seem like a colossal amount of work, which can be overwhelming. Managing your college workload requires planning, organizing, honing your time management skills, and self-discipline. Some strategies that can help you manage your workload are:

  • Understanding the syllabi and what each class requires from you
  • Avoiding procrastination by starting assignments early and using different studying techniques like the Pomodoro method
  • Being consistent in completing chunks of tasks in a fixed timeframe
  • Practicing self-care to be well-rested, which can help you stay on top of your projects

Too Few or Too Many Classes per Semester: How to Choose Correctly?

Choosing the correct number of classes for a semester is crucial for your academic success and overall well-being. There are advantages and drawbacks to both options, which can help you decide:

  • Too few classes: You can have a lighter workload and time for other activities, but taking too few classes per semester can extend your college time and make you ineligible for financial aid.
  • Too many classes: You can make faster progress towards graduating and benefit from the full-student status in financial aid, scholarships, and campus benefits. However, it can lead to burnout, stress, and reduced performance, and can cause imbalance in your life.

So, how do you choose correctly? Be realistic about your limits and how much workload you can manage, consult advisors, and be willing to adjust your course load based on previous semesters’ experience. 

Tips and Tricks 


Here are some tips and tricks to help you handle the demands of your college classes:

Interested in pursuing a degree?

Fill out the form and get all admission information you need regarding your chosen program.

This will only take a moment.

Message Received!
Thank you for reaching out to us. We will review your message and get right back to you within 24 hours.

If there is an urgent matter and you need to speak to someone immediately you can call at the following phone number:

By clicking the Send me more information button above, I represent that I am 18+ years of age, that I have read and agreed to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy, and agree to receive email marketing and phone calls from UOTP. I understand that my consent is not required to apply for online degree enrollment. To speak with a representative without providing consent, please call +1 (202) 274-2300

Time Management

  1. Create a calendar: To avoid being caught by surprise by important dates, keep a calendar with all upcoming deadlines, exams, and other commitments
  2. Prioritize tasks: Prioritize assignments, exams, and projects based on their deadlines and importance to your grade
  3. Create a schedule: Use digital or physical planners to organize your classes, assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities, and create a weekly plan that works for you
  4. Set realistic goals and be flexible: Be realistic about what you can do in a day and avoid overloading your day, which can lead to frustration and stress
  5. Make time to have fun: Consistently include time for yourself in your schedule to balance your mental health and your life
  6. Break tasks down: Divide larger tasks into smaller, manageable tasks and tackle each part separately

Study Skills and Resources

  1. Active learning: Actively engage with the material by asking questions, participating in class discussions, and taking detailed notes to enhance understanding and retention
  2. Effective note-taking: Develop a system for taking clear and organized notes during and after lectures; review and revise notes regularly to reinforce your understanding of the material
  3. Technological tools: Explore educational apps like flashcards and quiz apps to supplement your learning, like Quizlet, note-taking apps to upgrade your notes like Evernote and Notion, and apps like Forest to help you focus
  4. Campus resources: Take advantage of resources like libraries, writing centers, study groups, and tutoring services

Stress Management

  1. Practice effective relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga
  2. Reach out for support, and don’t hesitate to talk to  friends, family, or a mental health professional
  3. Allocate time for activities you enjoy, such as reading for pleasure, hobbies, or having time for yourself
  4. Maintain a healthy lifestyle by practicing self-care, getting adequate sleep, having a balanced diet, and limiting caffeine intake
  5. Be active and exercise as often as possible by finding physical activities you enjoy and incorporating them into your routine


Understanding your college workload is a pivotal aspect of your academic journey. The number of classes you take each semester shapes your learning experience and influences your mental health and overall college life. Therefore, considering factors like degree requirements and career goals can help you maintain balance and thrive academically. 

Your college journey is unique to you, so with careful planning and attentive consideration, you can confidently choose the right number of classes each semester, ensuring a successful college education.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How do I decide how many classes to take in college?

You can make an informed decision on the number of classes by considering your individual circumstances, academic goals, specific requirements of your degree program, workload, graduation timeline, etc.

While there isn’t a generally recommended number of classes to take each semester, most colleges and universities consider 12-15 credit hours per semester for full-time enrollment. 

What should I think about when choosing my college classes per semester?

To create a balanced academic experience, you should consider factors like credit hours, class difficulty, class schedule, class format, professor reviews, prerequisites, etc.

Are there cons for taking too many classes per semester?

Yes, there are many drawbacks to taking too many classes in a semester, such as academic burnout, decreased performance, neglect of self-care, limited time for extracurricular activities, difficulty building relationships, etc. 

How do I calculate credit hours when choosing college classes?

Each credit hour coincides with a minimum of three hours of student engagement during and after class. Most classes are worth three credit hours, and lab courses are worth one credit hour. Add up the credit hours of the individual classes you plan to take in a semester and ensure the total aligns with the requirements for full-time or part-time student status and your degree program. 

What are some time management tips for college course workload?

Some tips that will help you better manage time and navigate your college course workload are:

  • Creating a calendar to record all your due dates and deadlines
  • Creating a personalized schedule that works for your personal rhythm
  • Prioritizing tasks that are most important and time-sensitive
  • Makeingtime to have fun and take care of yourself

How many classes per semester do I take as a part-time student?

As a part-time student, you’ll need to enroll in less than 12 credit hours, which means taking around three classes per semester. 

How many classes per semester do I take as a full-time student?

As a full-time student, you’ll need to be enrolled in 12-15 credit hours, which means taking four to five classes per semester.