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Some students opt to take a heavy workload each semester

As students get ready to enroll in classes for the Spring Semester at Ohio University, some opt to take more than the average number of credit hours.

The Office of Institutional Research provided figures starting in 2013 about the average credit hours undergraduate students were enrolled in for the Athens campus. From Fall Semester 2013 to Fall Semester 2017, those numbers ranged from 15.12 to 15.32 credit hours on average.

“As you can see, there’s not much variance,” OU Spokesman Jim Sabin said in an email. “This is mostly due to the fact that students need to carry about 15 credit hours per term in order to graduate in four years.”

Sabin also said students must take 15 credit hours to be registered as a full-time student to be considered for financial aid and scholarships.

Jennifer Heitsche, a junior studying outdoor recreation and education, is taking 19 credit hours. She has one major, a minor in interdisciplinary arts and is working toward a certificate in entrepreneurship as well. 

“This semester I am taking 19 credit hours mostly because I just switched majors and still want to graduate in the Spring of 2019,” she said in an email.

She said each semester, she has always chosen to take more than the minimum number of credit hours needed to graduate.

“I want to learn as much as I can while I’m here at OU,” she said in an email. “Especially since I am paying for it.”

When it comes to homework and other assignments, Heitsche said it usually takes her about two to five hours to complete everyday. That includes reading, writing small papers and working a little on major assignments, she said.

Even though Heitsche is taking more than the average number of credit hours, she does not feel the stress of it.

“The best thing about my major is that most often the classes don’t have examinations, only big projects,” she said in an email. “In all I don’t feel stressed about my classes because the professors work with me to help me succeed.”

Heitsche said she will probably take either 19 or 20 credit hours in Spring Semester.

Kat Altier, an undecided freshman, is taking 15 credit hours.

As a student taking that many credit hours, she claims she doesn’t have any stress about her workload and it is manageable.

“It takes me about one to three hours to do my homework every night, depending if I have to write a paper or something for class,” she said.

Students who take 15 credit hours in their first semester are more likely to graduate than those taking fewer credit hours, according to a report from the Community College Research Center at the Teachers College at Columbia University.

For the next semester, she decided to take more than the minimum number of credit hours required to graduate on time.

“I have a lot of space in my schedule for classes next semester,” she said. 

Even though she is taking 15 credit hours now, Altier said she feels confident she will be able to handle the workload for next semester.


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