managing a full course load 101:

Okay, I know I’ve been missing but I promise it’s for good reason! It’s currently Sunday, so tomorrow is the beginning of week 8 in my 10 week school term for the fall and it’s been hectic to say the least. As graduation is approaching I have been pressuring myself more than usual to meet deadlines, complete things ahead of time etc. Which brings us to this blog post. A lot of you would ask me on my social media how I take care of a crazy 3 year old and take so many courses, and my answer is I have no idea but I do have tips and tricks. At my university the maximum credit amount is 20 which is standard I believe and after my first year I began taking 17-20 credits. Now, my first year I did listen to my advisors and take 12-15 credits but it wasn’t for me! It seemed so slow to me, I found myself procrastinating because I knew I didn’t have a lot of work to complete and I honestly just was bored. That’s 4-5 courses if they’re 3 credit courses or 3-4 if they’re 4 credits and when you think about it that means your days are rather short and straight forward and unfortunately I need complexity in my life lol. When things are too easy for me, I don’t even apply myself so I knew something had to give.

I applied that same thought process to my course load so knowing that 12-15 credits wasn’t asking enough of me for me to really feel pressured to succeed I did what they tell you not to do. “Stay in the 15 credit range, do not go anywhere upward of 16 credits”. Yet after two terms of being modest, I took my first try at taking 18 credits. Everyone told me I was crazy but I enjoyed the pressure. I literally thrive under it, and I know that about myself so regardless of what my advisor recommended, she didn’t know me.. I mean let’s be realistic she speaks to over 100 students, how would she know what conditions work best for me especially after meeting me once or twice? Lol. Anyways, my first term taking 18 credits was my first time on the deans list. Do you see the correlation there? Exactly!

In order for me to stay focused I relied on my iPad Pro more than anything. I carried it to class like it was my baby, and I truly credit the apps notability and grade hound for my success.

Notability is just that, notes. Yet more advanced, more organized and easy on the eyes. It allows you to create sections such as terms, topics etc then you can create sub-sections which are commonly my classes. I prefer it over a notebook because it’s easy to find everything. I know computers offer these apps as well but on my iPad I was allowed to type and hand write on my iPad in courses where computers were not allowed. Or even when my courses were going over topics I wanted to make sure I interpreted, I would opt to hand write (best way to memorize). On a standard computer you’re not offered that luxury. Also, you can store your notes. When you traditionally hand write on paper, you’re using multiple notebooks or trash your notes, instead I keep mine under their specific term in the app. It allows me to go back to my notes from earlier classes which has proved helpful cause I have taken courses that go more in-depth then other courses and there are my notes to save me. Lastly, you can record your lectures. So when you go back to your notes and play your recording, it will tell you what you were writing at that exact point in the Audio recording incase you missed something. Below will be a few pictures of my notes and my to-do lists that I use this app for so you can visually see what I’m blabbering about.

Grade Hound was a life saver for me. If I had to pay 10 dollars for the app I would lol. It allows you to insert the information from your syllabi’s such as grades in points/percentages for assignments that will contribute to your grade, what work will be completed when which then will alert you when an assignment’s due date is approaching (the life saving part) and instructor information, meeting times, and you can do this under semesters/terms. So I know your probably like okay Aja I can do that on my own. What changed my life was that way to often did my professors hand me back graded assignments yet didn’t update my grade on blackboard, so I really had no idea where I stood in the class. On the app, you can put your grades for the assignments and since it knows how much it contributes to your overall grade it will also tell you your overall GPA for that term/semester! By seeing that every day, I knew when I had to really put my best foot forward on an assignment or when I knew I could be a little lazy cause I could afford to go down .2 points lol. It also tells you your exact grade percentage, so you knew if you were 1% shy of a letter grade change. I swear, it literally changed my life. I should probably thank my boyfriend for my iPad lol.

Aside from staying overly organized which is a must to stay on track, I think it boils down to how you perceive yourself. Do you find that you enjoy lighter course loads because they allow flexibility? Or, do you think by increasing your courseload you can really focus more? Like I said, I don’t necessarily have an answer but I can tell you why I took the risk, and how I found out that it worked for me.. and, a big bonus is the more credits you take the sooner you graduate AKA the sooner you have to stop paying your expensive tuition! By increasing my courseload I cut off an entire year from my initial graduation date. Additionally, be smart about what courses you register for. I usually take 1-2 core classes because they require more time and effort and then the rest are courses specific to my major but on topics I would enjoy. This way you don’t feel like every course is gonna drive you crazy and I take an elective or two to break up the seriousness of my schedule. So, I would never take a math, science, and english at once because they’re usually the courses that require time. I create excel sheets to map out my school career up until graduation to plan when I will take courses to stay organized and on top of that as well. If you go into registration knowing what to apply for it’ll be way easier on you and apply for an extra “just because” Course Incase you want to drop something else that way you have a safe spot to rely on and still can maintain that credit amount! Then if you find your schedule is fine, you can drop the just because course. See where I’m going with this?

Realistically, I don’t think there is a how to guidebook on taking so many credits, but if you don’t feel the standard amount is working for you, I say try it. Don’t be afraid to do what they tell you not to do, you know yourself better than anyone. But if you fail, withdraw from a course or end up on academic probation please don’t blame me 🙂

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7 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 13, 2017 / 2:15 pm

    Is working also incorporated into your schedule? Sounds totally possible but hard

    • jonesforaja
      November 16, 2017 / 11:31 pm

      No, I currently do not work. I am lucky enough to have people in my life that support my school career.

  2. Anonymous
    November 15, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    What’s your major?

    • jonesforaja
      November 16, 2017 / 11:30 pm

      I major in psychology 🙂

      • Anonymous
        November 18, 2017 / 5:07 am

        That’s cool me too! Good luck with everything!

  3. Markita
    November 20, 2017 / 11:03 pm

    Any Memorization or time management tips ?

    • jonesforaja
      November 22, 2017 / 5:29 pm

      Time management I would suggest a planner and splitting up your to do list accordingly. Memorization tips I suggest handwriting everything and reading it aloud a few times. It has always worked for me.