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Is 19 credit hours too much?

  1. Feb 5, 2014 #1
    I am an early college student in my junior year and this spring I am taking 14 credit hours, and I have just way too much free time. I have Composition 2, US history 2, Ethics, and Calculus 2. Next semester I am planning this schedule:

    Calculus 3 - 5 credits
    Differential Equations - 4 credits
    Physics/w Calc 1 - 3 credits
    Physics/w Calc 1 lab -1 credit
    Intro to Economics 1 - 3 credits
    Art Appreciation - 3 credits
    For a total of 19!

    My mother is skeptical that I can handle this, but I don't think it is bad as it looks. I love math and I have read all the way through my calculus book and have got most of it down pat. I have already taken a good physics course while I was still attending my high school so I am not worried about the Phy/w calc class. Plus the only pre rec for that class is calc 1 at my school, so it won't be anything crazy advanced. Three of the 19 credits are in art appreciation which is a cake walk, and I am only taking it because the honors college wants me too.

    Also, I am a physics major, well technically not because as an early college student I can't officially declare, and the schedules I have seen that most physics majors take seem much more daunting than this. I have seen kids taking a combo of mechanics, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics all at once. If they can do that I can take calc 3, physics 1, and differential eq. and be fine.

    The classes that are the most difficult for me have always been the classes I don’t like. For example I hate the Comp 2 and US history classes that I am in with a passion. They give a mind-numbing amount of busy work and then test me on my ability to regurgitate the facts and opinions of others that they forced down my throat! I actually see the schedule I wrote up above and drool! I will actually be taking classes I am interested in, and if I am interested in something I don’t see it as work when I have to learn it and practice it.

    Anyway what do you guys think? Is this a doable schedule? Unless Differential Equations is just this otherworldly monster of a math class that I could never imagine, I think this is very doable.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2014 #2
    It's doable if you don't have a job.
  4. Feb 5, 2014 #3
    I don't.
  5. Feb 5, 2014 #4
    If you have good time management skills and you can learn math and physics at a reasonable pace (you should know this from your earlier calc classes), it's doable. You will have to devote large chunks of your day and weekends to studying though. Is that Physics with calc 1 the mechanics course or the electricity and magnetism course?
  6. Feb 5, 2014 #5
    The Physics w/calc 1 is the mechanics course at my school.
  7. Feb 5, 2014 #6
    I took 19 hours last semester, and it wasn't fun but I passed all my classes with decent grades (but not as good as I hoped). I was pretty burned out by about the 8 week mark and finals week nearly gave me a nervous breakdown.

    Calculus 3
    Physics 1 + lab
    Chemistry 1 + lab
    Western Civ 1
    English Comp 1
  8. Feb 5, 2014 #7
    What was it that made it so difficult for you? The Rigor of the courses or the sheer amount of studying because of all the classes?
  9. Feb 5, 2014 #8
    My calculus class was very rigorous, and very difficult. I am a math major that aced calc 1&2 with flying colors in my sleep. I really enjoyed my teacher and I learned a lot, but he is a known gpa killer. Most difficult exams I've ever taken, period.

    Other than that, I'm rather bad at managing my time, and I was not expecting my physics or chemistry classes to be any sort of challenge. Turns out I really suck at chemistry, and I kinda suck at physics (which is my minor btw). My history class is with a professor that is known to be very difficult but people recommend him because he's so awesome and his lectures are fun. In fact I'm taking the 2nd part of the class with him again this semester because he's the best teacher I've ever had.

    So basically I'm lazy and a bit arrogant and I severely underestimated the workload. You can do it, and a hard working student could probably do very well under the circumstances, but I'm not all that hard working. Just know what you are getting into.
  10. Feb 5, 2014 #9


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    You know how well you manage your time a lot more than we do. That is, from my experience, an overload situation - assuming that a standard course load at your university is 15 credit-hours. But from another point of view, it's really still just five courses (I'm counting the physics lab in with the physics course).

    One thing to keep in mind is that with problem-based courses (math and physics) the time required to complete assignments and homework can be a lot more difficult to predict than with arts courses. When you're given so many chapters to read, or a paper of a particular length to write, you can get pretty good at guessing how long those tasks will take you. With problems, sometimes they go quick. Sometimes they drag out.

    There's nothing that stands out to me as an objective "don't do it" flag. If you think you can handle this load then go for it. It may be a good thing to learn early on where your limits are.
  11. Feb 6, 2014 #10


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  12. Feb 6, 2014 #11
    You are quite right about the problem based courses; it is much harder to predict how long they will take. Thank you for the insight.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2014
  13. Feb 6, 2014 #12
    How are your general education courses (Art appreciation and intro to economics). In my experiences, classes like that can either be blow-off classes, or require so much homework and blind memorization that it drives you crazy.
  14. Feb 6, 2014 #13
    I don't think it is impossible, but it will require very good time management. Without a job you can focus on your classes. I doubt free time will exist in your vocabulary for the semester though.
  15. Feb 6, 2014 #14


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    I took 18-20 credit hours all throughout college. You'll be fine if you're a hard worker!
  16. Feb 6, 2014 #15
    At my school they are blow off classes. Art Appreciation is basically an A for showing up. Into to economics is very easy; the only thing people find challenging is that they need to understand basic algebra, but that isn't going to be a problem for me.
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