Too much for first semester?

<p>16 credits too much for first semester freshman year?</p>

<p>NO! Do not mess with a good schedule to have fewer credits. It is likely you have 4 or 5 courses, a manageable number of classes to keep up with homework, do writing assignments and study for tests. Do not switch out of something you have chosen to take a different class just to bring down the number of credits. Remember, you are prepared to handle this or UW wouldn't have admitted you and your advisor wouldn't recommend the schedule. Do not underestimate yourself. Remember the primary reason to go to college is to take classes, not socialize- and you will have enough time for that with 16 credits. Too few credits can mean too much free time and poor study habits- it is easier to keep your focus when you have enough to fill your days (16 credits likely means only that many hours in class per week, leaving plenty of time for homework/study).</p>

<p>Entering freshmen- do not try to second guess your fall schedule. You and your advisor came up with a workable plan. Don't screw it up.</p>

<p>UW's own data indicates those with a moderately higher load such as 16-17 over 13-14 credits are more school focused and get better grades.</p>

<p>I think 16 is very manageable. My friend once took 23 credits at her university, with permission, to catch up on some courses and she did fine.</p>

<p>Maybe it's just because I got used to easier classes at my previous school (UW-Oshkosh) and I've always been working while in school, but for me 16 credits is too much. If you can handle it, great, but if you're just starting college you don't want to get yourself off on a bad foot. I have several friends who did just that and they've never really recovered from it (<3.0 GPA), whereas I was able to ease into college with a light class load. My Madison GPA is about 3.7 and trending upwards, so it's been a successful strategy for me.</p>

<p>You can always take an extra semester to graduate if need be, but if you end up with less than stellar grades you'll be slamming the door shut on opportunities like grad school.</p>

<p>And by the way, 23 credits? That's ridiculous, even if it was at an easy school.</p>

<p>Most students can easily handle 16 credits. At worst you will need to drop a course. Too few credits and you can't drop any and remain a full time student. By taking light loads you do not prepare yourself for the rigors of grad school if that is your goal. It is better to take more credits and not work if you can handle it financially. More credits earlier frees up time for options later- instead of scrambling to finish and taking courses just because they fit a tight schedule as a senior.</p>

<p>23 credits- kudos to the student who caught up. You don't want to be in that situation, however. You will have more options and flexibility if you get ahead, not behind, in credits. You are starting at the most rigorous college in the state- you worked hard in HS to get there and don't have bad habits from an easier school to overcome. Have confidence in yourself- UW thinks you can do it.</p>

<p>I have to respectfully disagree wis75, I don't think most students can 'handle' (i.e. excel in each class to the maximum of their potential) 16 credits on a semester by semester basis. It's difficult and needlessly stressful -- take your time and do things right. I also don't think that taking fewer credits necessarily equates to working less, just working more efficiently with better focus. I completed an independent study with a professor that only accounted for 3 credits, but given the amount of reading and writing I did it might have been more equivalent to 6 credits, or two mid-upper level classes. Likewise, if you are taking fewer credits you can 'go above and beyond' in the classes you are taking, maximizing what you are learning by studying more or checking out other related material at your leisure and thus also helping you retain it for later.</p>

<p>I have also seen the study that barrons posted in another thread showing that those who take more credits in their freshman year have a (slightly) higher GPA, but I have my doubts about whether it's actually a causal relationship or just a correlation. That is to say, people who are willing to take more credits tend to be better, more focused students already, and would get higher grades regardless of how many credits they are willing to take.</p>

<p>At the end of the day it is of course dependent on the individual, so to the OP: Do you what feel most comfortable doing and succeed in that. Better yet, always remember that you can drop a class within the first days of the semester with no penalty, so if you start with 16 credits and think it's too much just drop a class to go down to 12-13.</p>

<p>It is a matter of choice. If you want to graduate in 4years, on average, 15 credit is needed per semester. If you have the time and $$ to stretch out for 5-6 years for undergrad degree, that is a different matter.</p>

<p>You have to realistically assess your own abilities and your ability to resist competing time taking temptations when necessary. Are you a fast learner or does it take a lot of work for you to achieve? As stated, you can always drop a class if it proves to be too much. There is no indication whether taking more credits causes students to be more focused and get better grades or whether those signing up for more credits are those who are more focused to begin with and would get better grades anyway. I suspect the latter.</p>

<p>What annoyingdad said. Personally, I'm taking 17 credits this first semester and am going to look for a campus job, along with joining the running club. You don't want to stretch yourself too thin, but at the same time you don't want to have so much free time that you start to think that college is "easy" and neglect the classes that you DO have.</p>

<p>16 credits is too much. The push to graduate in 4 years and take astronomical class loads has led to the high drop out rate. Also never let anyone guilt you into dropping under "full time" if you have to stay full time to get financial aid, start with the needed number of classes and then drop one after the financial aid drop deadline and before the universities drop deadline.</p>

<p>Remember that only 1 out of 3 students that you see the first day of class are likely to ever graduate. Do you and give yourself an easy semester. After you have experienced some success then you can see about whether you want to have a tough schedule the following term.</p>

<p>NO! UW now charges for "excessive" credits- 19 and over. 16 is a normal load. 4 classes can be 17- 5 calc, 5 chem, 4 language and 3 lit. 15 credits can be 5 3 credit classes. </p>

<p>Those students who are used to getting the most out of school should continue to do so in college. Those admitted as freshmen can handle the work. A lot depends on the courses as well. You choose those you can handle- eg Honors or not...</p>

<p>Regarding graduation rates- some of those students will transfer to another school etc. You can handle the work if you CHOOSE to. Those that consistently push themselves consistently get further ahead in life. You all have those from your HS who do not attend any college, those who attend an easier college than you thought and those of you who were accepted to UW-Madison as freshmen. Those who choose to do the work can graduate from UW. Why waste a year and develop sloppy study habits? </p>

<p>Your problem if you don't take advantage of the opportunities...</p>

<p>Note to uwrobi- consider the Wis Track Club instead of the UW running club if you are a serious runner- you can participate in some CC runs this fall at other schools (including U of Minn- but not with Div I, that's for the UW CC team). Consider waiting to work and run instead- M-F around 5 pm.</p>

<p>Also- the alternative to college is full time (hopefully) work- 40 or more hours per week at low wages usually. Consider college your job. The more credits you have the closer to graduation and a better paying job you are...</p>

<p>wis75, I've pretty much laid out my feelings on the subject already and I want to avoid rehashing things (especially since my objective isn't really to convince you as it is to lay out an alternative viewpoint for the OP and lurkers), but I felt I should add a couple things after seeing your latest post:</p>

<p>1) None of my friends (some of whom are extremely good students) would consider 16 credits a 'normal' load. That's not to say they would necessarily consider it overly excessive, but they would all probably say it's at least above average and definitely a lot of extra work versus an actual normal load (12-14). And while it's true that 16 credits can be four classes and 15 credits could be 5, this is not the norm. 3/4 of the time four classes will net you 13-14 credits (often two four credit classes and two three credit classes). I should know, as this is what I typically take.</p>

<p>
[quote]
students who are used to getting the most out of school should continue to do so in college

[/quote]
</p>

<p>2) I think this is a slippery slope that can lead to problematic thinking such as "I got all As in high school, I can handle whatever UW throws at me." If, as a result, a student takes too many credits and gets swamped, this could lead to grade problems and/or lasting confidence issues if a student doesn't get the grades he/she's used to getting all their life. College != high school in any way.</p>

<p>3) Most of the time someone accepted to UW can 'handle the work' if they choose to, but at what cost? Especially if you're trying to transition from high school to college it's just not worth it, and unlike in high school and at easier colleges failing or getting very low grades is something that can happen to anyone if you're not careful. Taking that many credits kills other opportunities for working and a social life, which are both very important. Not to mention time to just relax.</p>

<p>4) Rushing through college is something I would definitely advise against. There are too many nuances to life and lets face it, when you enter college you really have a lot of self-exploration and further identity formation to do. By the time you've matured you might realize what you thought you wanted to do when you entered college was completely off-base. Or, you end up taking classes in a major that you think you might like but you find you hate. I know people who rushed through college and they are not in the position they want to be in, in large part because of their desire to just finish their degree and get into the job market. If it takes another semester or two to do things right then so be it, it's better to take your time and do things right the first time. Measure twice, cut once, as carpenters say.</p>

<p>The only time I would advise to take 15 credits or less is first semester, especially if you are coming to college with untested studying skills. After first semester you should never take less than 15 because it puts you behind, if you have a hard major try to spread out the tough classes. I agree with wis75, act like school is your job and you will do well.</p>

<p>Also just because you have more credits does not mean you have a harder semester. For example look at my two class schedules below and tell me which one seems harder.</p>

<p>Managerial Accounting<br>
Operations Management<br>
Marketing<br>
Racial Minorities<br>
Medieval History </p>

<p>Intro Finance
Financial Accounting<br>
Intermediate Macroeconomics
China's Growth Model
General Business 300</p>

<p>The one on top is 17 credits while the one below is 16 however the one below is much more rigorous. I know quite a few people who have taken 13 credits but their classes were bio, physics and o chem with the first two having labs. There are many things you have to consider when planning your schedule</p>

<p>Ten years later it will be interesting to see how everyone fares. I suspect the top management will be those who did more work in college. You choose how much to do- and you choose friends who agree with you. Those with a love of learning will continue to get what they can out of the system, others will lead different lives. The nice thing about this school is that there are opportunities and no social pressures to do less to fit in.</p>

<p>As you can see from the responses, there is more than one way to approach your education. There are many levels of student at UW- you choose where you want to be. You will not be alone if you choose to work hard- you will meet others like yourself who can succeed with 16 credits as new freshmen. Never be afraid to test your limits (16 is not a test load, 18 may be). Be sure you won't have regrets later for not taking on "challenges"- quote because what some consider a challenge is what others consider normal.</p>

<p>Good luck and enjoy the academics as well as the other aspects of college life.</p>

<p>I think you will start seeing the UW getting more pro-active in pushing people along to graduation. Unless there is a good reason such as doing an engineering co-op or student teaching there is no good reason to take over 4 years to graduate. Employers will not be impressed with a 5 year plan filled with 12 credit semesters. It shows a lack of work ethic and in this economy nobody can afford that. First thing employers want is hard working over-achievers. Not coasters.</p>

<p>The other reason to take longer is the need to work to pay for it. To have more time for a social life is not.</p>

<p>@ Barron and Wis75. I would agree with most of what you have said here. However, I do have a few exampls of slakers in college being successful later in life. In fact, the best the brightest students in my class are not the most successful ones. Several slakers are very successful. It perhaps it is a matter of luck plus some street smart. That is life.</p>

<p>I have never said you can't be successful later no matter what. But these days they are not likely to start at a top company. That's all and that's fine for some kids who rather do something on their own anyway rather than go to a big company. But in the specific case of getting that first job out of college I stand by my points.</p>

<p>15-16 credits per semester should be no problem whatsoever, even in the sciences. The key is to be able to have at least 12 (minimum for a full-time student) if the wheels come off on a class and it needs to be dropped. And plenty of kids take 17-18 hours.</p>

<p>I WILL say, however, that with SO many job, research & club opportunities at UW-Madison that end up being crucial line items on a resume, that this non-credit stuff should be taken into account as well.</p>