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Taking more than four classes per semester

steamedricesteamedrice Posts: 119Registered User Junior Member
edited May 2008 in Harvard University
Can any current Harvard student (or anyone knowledgable on the subject) help me with this?

Specifically, how common is it? Is the added stress from the courseload significant? And (most importantly) how much does the cost of tutition increase with each additional course?

Thank you very much
Post edited by steamedrice on

Replies to: Taking more than four classes per semester

  • caramelkisses06caramelkisses06 Posts: 311Registered User Junior Member
    Taking five courses in one semester is pretty common, I know plenty of people who have done it. If the courses are choses wisely, it's definitely doable. In many cases, people's fifth course will be an elective that they take pass/fail or an easy foreign language course. It can certainly be added stress, but it's not at all unheard of.

    Taking six courses is much less common (I've never heard of anyone doing it) and requires special permission.

    The cost of tuition remains the same regardless of how many courses you take.
  • piccolojuniorpiccolojunior Posts: 2,629- Senior Member
    Don't stress yourself out over taking 10 - 12 classes a year. If you want to get on the fast track, opt for Advanced Standing (which gives you the possibility of graduating with a bachelor's and master's degree).
  • steamedricesteamedrice Posts: 119Registered User Junior Member
    caramelkisses:
    Thank you very much for the information. Are you certain that tuition is independent of course count?

    piccolojunior:
    I do not intend to take 10-12 classes a year, and I am not asking out of a desire to get on the "fast track." Thank you though.
  • piccolojuniorpiccolojunior Posts: 2,629- Senior Member
    Your costs are collectivized into a lump sum, out of which your FAS scholarship (see: financial aid), self-help, and expected parental contribution are divvied up. So yeah it's a flat yearly rate. Termbills are involved but I'll get back to you when I reach that stage.
  • steamedricesteamedrice Posts: 119Registered User Junior Member
    Alright, thank you very much for the help.
  • harvard09harvard09 Posts: 165Registered User Junior Member
    My advisor told me that he knew of one girl who took 8 courses per semester, every semester, and got mostly A's. This was frowned on by the faculty because a Harvard education is more than just class and studying.
  • just_forget_mejust_forget_me Posts: 2,244Registered User Senior Member
    Tuition and cost aren't related, unless you try to graduate early by taking lots of courses each semester (different from advanced standing).
  • h-bomberh-bomber Posts: 427Registered User Member
    I've had three 5 course semesters, and it's really not that bad as long as you pick your courses well. There's so many courses here that you want to take but so little time!
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,393Registered User Senior Member
    I got better grades when I took five courses than when I took four. I often audited a sixth course. I usually took the fifth course pass/fail, sometimes because I had to - that was the way they were offered. (Independent studies.)
  • AdmiralAdmiral Posts: 720Registered User Member
    I have plenty of friends that take five courses- it depends on your work habits (I personally would be bothered by all the work, but I do envy the number of electives these students take).

    Taking six courses is, as mentioned, considerably more intense. I know a girl who took six last spring semester and had to have an incredibly tight schedule, but it was manageable.
  • tlon_verbtlon_verb Posts: 15Registered User New Member
    I personally would never take five classes. I've realized that while I like my classes, I like having the time to do all the other things I want to do more.

    I do know people who have taken five classes with varying degrees of success. One premed (this should set off warning bells) friend of mine had v. little sleep and generally looked rather destroyed that particular semester and swears he will never do it again. Another premed? pre-research friend of mine has taken five classes since her freshmen spring. But on the other hand, I don't think she does any extra curriculars, but does indeed find time to hang out with friends.

    And yet a blockmate of mine (who I don't know how she functions) is taking five pretty intense courses this semester while doing ski team and ballet and lab. Then again, she doesn't seem to need much sleep and doesn't seem to long for more.

    So, it really depends on what you want out of your college experience. But you shouldn't take five classes just for the sake of taking five classes or for the sake of saying you're taking five classes or to maximize your tuition.

    Most of the people I do know, however, are taking only four classes a semester. Classes, even if they are on the easier side, do require a certain amount of time/commitment. Also, when considering the number of classes you want to take, you should definitely consider how many finals/papers you will have during the last few weeks of school.

    - Tlon_Verb
    survivingharvard.com
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