Many students take a “full course load” of 12 hours or more to receive full financial aid or to complete their degree in a timely way. However, many do not understand the time commitment of a full course load. A full-time load is equivalent to a full-time job or 40 hours of work per week.
12 credits = 12 contact hours + 24 study hours = 36 hours per week of work
Here is what you need to know before committing to a full-time load:
Most learning occurs outside of class, independent of the teacher. This requires a high level of time commitment.
The general rule is that for every hour spent in class, a student spends two hours outside of class reading, studying, and completing assignments. Many students take on too much at once and score poorly or drop courses. This could lead to a financial loss, feeling of failure, or a loss of financial aid.
Students should become champions ofcourse planning and advising. This is not something to take lightly. Plan carefully what is needed for graduation and when it needs to be completed. This will also help students see the big picture and make informed decisions on what course load to commit to.
The commitment of college courses requires letting go of other activities in life. This is a challenging reality, and many students fall into the trap of thinking they can do it all! Through being fully informed and making wise time choices, school can be a short-term endeavor with life-long rewards!
HCC Technology Set Up
Technology is an important skill for success in school. HCC has a technology help desk for students to get assistance with technology questions. Learning Support Services can also help students with basic technology setup or refer you to the technology help desk.
When setting up your computer, laptop, tablet, or smart phone, here is a checklist of helpful technology tips to help you get started:
Expectations at college are high. Study skills, communication, soft-skills, and professionalism are important tools for success in school, as well as future employment. These are also difficult skills to teach.
Skills for success include:
Success breeds success! Break down large goals into simple, short-term goals and meet them. This will propel future success.
Know thyself. Self-evaluate strengths and weaknesses, and constantly work to improve.
Attending every class is a strong predictor for success: DON’T MISS CLASS.
Be organized. This includes notes, syllabi, computer files, email, books, and planning for graduation.
Use to-do lists and a day planner to manage time.
Work smarter not harder. Many freshmen make the mistake of studying really hard in the wrong way. Learn how to engage in high-quality work in a short amount of time.
Taking hand-written notes has been shown to improve memory over typed notes. Write as many high-quality notes as possible!
Instructors are your number one resource. Communicate with your instructors face-to-face and via email frequently. Make sure you are practicing soft-skills and professionalism with them in every interaction.
Read texts efficiently, and use active reading strategies. Work to increase the speed in which you read and comprehend material.
Have a positive attitude and a growth mindset. You are capable of more than you think. Even if you have struggled in a subject in the past, you can succeed in that subject with hard work.
Build good habits of self-control, accountability, self-evaluation, and grit.
Become a good test taker.
Have a strategy in place for each class. Look at the syllabus and course schedule strategically. Get to know your instructor’s teaching philosophy and values to develop a strategy for success.
Ask for help. Learning is not effective alone. Make new friends that encourage. Create study groups and get free tutoring.
Use technology to help you succeed. Download free software available to HCC students. If you have a smart phone, set up your HCC email account on your phone. Use the phone’s calendar and check your HCC email daily.
Use critical thinking skills in your classes. Instructors and employers want student’s to ask questions and research answers.
Take personal responsibility for every detail of college life. Build accountability. This can be achieved through a day planner and people in your life.
The most difficult classes on campus require high levels of commitment and stick-to-it-ness. Grit is important in completing coursework that is challenging.
Do not expect your instructors to be a “sage on the stage.” The instructor’s role is to facilitate learning. Most learning occurs outside of class, independent of the teacher, and requires a deep level of commitment. The general rule is that for every hour you spend in class, you should spend two hours outside of class reading, studying, and completing assignments.
Be a champion in advising. This is not something to take lightly. Plan carefully for graduation.
Success requires pain and sacrifice. It is a reality when registering for classes. School is a commitment that takes away from other commitments. However, school is a short-term endeavor with a lifetime of rewards.
How To Succeed In An Online Course
Online courses are more difficult, take more time, and require higher levels of commitment than face-to-face courses. Plus, students must have a healthy dose of perseverance and grit with technology skills, a computer, and a reliable internet connection.
In an online course, the teacher is the facilitator, and students must actively teach themselves, independent of the framework of a traditional class. Time management is more challenging, while many online students have other responsibilities such as family and job.
Students must plan their schedule wisely. As a general rule, instructors expect students to spend two hours studying for every one hour of class time. So, a basic three-credit hour online course means nine hours of work per week, solely dedicated to success in that course.
Courses are usually asynchronous, meaning everyone logs in at different times. This means there could be a delay in hearing back from an instructor. So, communication needs to be detailed and may take more time than a face-to-face section.
For more information on online courses, HCC provides a checklist: Are online courses right for me?
Students often have blind spots in knowing their strengths and weaknesses, and many do not know what they want to pursue as a career. Knowing thyself is one of the most important skills a student can have in college and in life. Knowing thyself is an attitude that drives action to become better.
College pushes students out of their comfort zones. It forces them to face challenges that help identify strengths, weaknesses, and develop coping skills for future jobs.
Metacognition, or reflecting on one’s learning, can be a powerful tool in improving self-knowledge. Metacognition allows students to reflect on success and failure. Students are notoriously bad at identifying their capabilities. Through class success, students prove to themselves what they can accomplish. After certain difficult courses, students may find themselves thinking, “If I can do that, I can do anything!”
Also, no matter what, you are not defined by your success or failure. Whatever happens at school, it is not life or death.
Mindfulness Can Improve Self-Knowledge
Mindfulness is thinking about one’s current feelings and experiences, without judgment, which helps one learn about one’s personality. Research shows that we often are not good at judging our patterns and that mindfulness helps to overcome barriers to knowing yourself (Dane and Brummel, 2013). Through self-reflection, students can start to form goals, complete courses, and earn degrees that lead to their careers and future. By paying close attention to patterns in action, thinking, feeling, and progress, mindfulness can give insight on one’s strengths and weaknesses. Often times a greatest strength can also be a greatest weakness. Also, seeking out mentors and instructor feedback can help identify shortcomings.