My son is currently signed up for 19 credits including intermediate yoga (should help with stress). I don't think it will be too much, but he could drop one during add/drop week. He has math 2230, FWS, music 2305 (history of Punk), French 2060 (best guess on placement), and psych 2650 (psych and law).
We were surprised at how easy sign-up went, though we did need to contact the school after the first three classes were done. The system stopped accepting more after that, so the school did the last two classes for him. His high school schedule was so intense (lots of AP classes, dual enrolled with college classes), this doesn't seem like much.
19 credits is doable if a student were to spend most of his/her time in the library. Most freshmen form their relationship the first year in college, and more often than not it is not with people they see only few times a week in class or study group. I wouldn't encourage my kid to take so many classes the first semester that he/she wouldn't have time to socialize. College is a lot more than academic.
My younger daughter is checking out job postings at Cornell, clubs she is interested in, and talking to people about sororities at Cornell.
Only freshman are capped at 18 credits. The # of credits is probably a poor indicator of how difficult a semester is. My highest credit semester was when I took 23 credits and I can definitely say I've had 15 credit semesters that were harder. For example, any semester with an intro language will have a pretty time consuming workload. The work itself probably isn't all that stressful (other than trying to find time to get it done), but the point is that it does have to get done.
At least first semester, I would definitely try to have no more than 15 academic credits. It's impossible to know how well you are going to adjust to Cornell and there is a ton going on in your life, and for many, most of that will be non-academic.
It's not that any freshman can't handle 18-20 credits (or more), but finishing undergrad is a marathon, not a sprint. And I'd consider your first semester the warm-up before the race. It'd suck to sprint the warm-up and start the race with a cramp. But if you feel great during that warm-up, go ahead and start that race strong (translation: If first semester goes really well, both academically and otherwise, feel free to take as many credits as you want 2nd semester).
Seriously? Your daughter is hoarding 8 classes, and is just sitting with them until drop/add, while other students who work all day spend their evenings sitting in front of the computer waiting for a spot to open just so they can get enough classes for the fall of their freshman year? How is this ok?
Saugus: IR is never filled in the summer completely, but the class is packed. I took it last fall.
IseeRedPeople: It is actually advised for students to register for more classes than they plan to take...not to take them away from other students but to prevent a student going under the minimum amount of credits if some of their classes don't work out for them. Not everyone does that though... I only register for the classes I plan to take.
IseeRedPeople: I would suggest for you to show up for classes even if you couldn't get in now. Speak with the professor, more often than not, you'll probably get in. My younger kid is very uncertain of what classes she wants to take. The older one was always math/econ, so she only signed up for what she needed. The younger one needs to protect her GPA more, so it's more important for her to take classes she will do well in.