What it’s Like to Be in Your Student’s Shoes

Cartoon student struggling to balance books on his back

You may never fully understand your student’s college experience, but in this section you will find information about a typical college student’s lifestyle:

A full-time student at most colleges or universities can expect to take about 15 credits worth of classes at a time. Consider the impact of this schedule on your student’s daily life:

Study Time alt= “ “

Generally, students are expected to spend several hours of studying per week for each class credit that they take. A common ratio is 3 hours of work for each credit or each hour they’re in class. If they’re taking 15 credits worth of classes, they should expect to spend 45 hours each week to complete course work- most of that time is spent on homework and work outside of class.

Work Hours alt= “ “

If your student works, that’s more time that they are spending away from home and focusing on something other than classes.

Commute Timesalt= “ “

Students who commute will spend a portion of their time twice a day just getting to and from campus. It may be 10 minutes, or it might be two hours or more every day. Remember, though, that weather and rush-hour traffic affects commuting time, and because students’ schedules change each semester, their commuting time will also change. If a night class is required for your student, travel may become more difficult.

Other Time Considerationsalt= “ “

In addition to class, work, and commuting time, students need time to participate in student groups, and some classes will require them to be in a study group before or after class. As part of homework requirements, instructors may ask students to connect with classmates on assignments or special projects. These group projects not only require more time, but they also may mean meeting with classmates during evenings or weekends.

Ask your student to fill out a schedule with classes, commuting time, and work hours. This can help you understand the demands on your student’s time, and it will give you an idea of the changes from day to day throughout the week.