Transitioning from high school to college

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Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Cap'n Knots » Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:30 pm UTC

I am currently a high school senior about to prepare for my college experience.
I figured I could ask the experieced individuals on the forums here about how to prepare the transition from high school to college.



To keep myself from rambling, I guess I'll just get to the point.
I am planning to major in Secondary Education at Western Carolina University.

What do I need to do to "Hit the ground running"?
What are some tips for time management
Would it be ideal to work part time while attending?
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Microscopic cog » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:01 pm UTC

I don't live in the USA so there are a lot of differences, but I believe the change is quite the same. I recently went from high school to college ( our equivalents of them, that is ) as well, and for me the change was pretty huge. Not only thanks to the immense gap between the two education systems but also of the amount of work and responsibility.

I never really learned to work or get anything done in high school ( under achieving slacker ) so it's really difficult to get the work done. I spend days and days and days procastinating and then doing things badly, even though I have enough time.

What I'm basically trying to say is, know yourself, know what you can do and don't underestimate it. I would give you time management tips if it weren't so that I consistently ignore the schedules I make for myself. And I think a part time job would be neat, but don't take it right away at the start, but wait till you're sure you can handle both college and a job.

Just general advice, I hope it makes sense :D
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Cap'n Knots » Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:27 pm UTC

That does help, I too am a slacker to some extent. Seeing as I am writing this in the middle of a marketing class. Probably be a good idea to break that habbit early. My biggest fear is getting lost on campus the first few days.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby B.Good » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:09 pm UTC

If you are a slacker and you continue to not do work, you will almost certainly not do very well. At the very least dedicate an hour or so a day to studying, even if it's just reading the textbook to reinforce what you learn in class/get a head start on the next lecture. Don't worry about getting lost on campus. I attend the University of Maryland at College Park which has a fairly large campus and I figured out where everything I needed was after one day of just wandering around. My tip for finding your way around is by choosing a reference point or multiple reference points and then work out everything from there.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby achan1058 » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:36 pm UTC

Utilize your resources. Most TA and profs aren't out there to fail you. They would be happy for people to show up for office hours and such, as long as you don't bug them with trivial questions. (for example, it's fine to ask them to explain stuff to you, not so fine when you ask them to find every arithmetic mistake you make)
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:43 pm UTC

Everyone's going to have a different experience with transitioning. Mainly, that is because of what kind of person you are and your strengths and weaknesses. For example, the hardest part for me was getting to be social. That's always been a problem for me, so just knowing what you'll probably have issues with is a good way to attempt to combat that.

Be aware that you may be completely prepared for something you wouldn't be and completely unprepared for something you thought you had down pat. For example, again, I thought I was really good at keeping myself on schedule and not forgetting things I had to do. Turns out I wasn't. I forgot a few classes, a few assignments, and then I realized that I'm actually not as good with that stuff as I had thought, mainly because my structure had changed. I was very concerned about keeping up with the classes, and that was no problem for me!

One thing that many people I've seen have trouble with is the sudden lack of structure. In high school, you know exactly where you're going to be from 8-3 (or whenever) and you know that after that you've got some club and that you'll do your homework from blah to blah. Your time is much more open when in college. You spend less time in class, but tons more doing work outside of class. It can be difficult so try to get a good start in disciplining yourself to just do your homework FIRST. Fun later.

Realize that the friendships you have now are never going to be the same. I'm not saying that you will drift away from all of your current friends, but remember that it's totally possible. People drastically underestimate the amount they change in college. Imagine yourself at age 10, now imagine yourself at age 13. There's a huge difference, isn't there? College can be even more drastic as you are suddenly out of the house, on your own, able to make all your own decisions. Frankly, it's wonderful! But if someone had told me that I would be the person I am right now 3 years ago when I started college, I would not have believed them.

Finally, try to just relax. In all likelihood, you'll do fine. College has truly been the best portion of my life so far. It may not be for you, but you do have many things to look forward to.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby philsov » Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:15 pm UTC

What are some tips for time management


A lot of people suggest to treat yourself like you did in high school or will for most college-educated jobs -- every weekday, about 9 to 5, you do schoolwork. Have a 9:00 class and an 11:00 class? Go to the library in the middle hour and do other schoolwork.

But, that most certainly did not appeal to me. Long duration education cut into my retention, so for many instances I'd use a two hour block after dinner to knock some stuff out, which allowed me to spread out some. It's all need-based, personally. If I didn't need to do extra reading, understood most of the lecture, and didn't have homework I wouldn't even bother. Of course, come test time I'd usually go cocoon mode about three days prior.

Would it be ideal to work part time while attending?


Depends on financial needs, educational ability, and scheduling funsies... but <20 hours a week is certainty manageable, even with a social life. Personally at 20+ hours it'd either cut into sleep or education at which point it's counter-production; take a loan. However I most certainly do not recommend any work* for your first semester -- you need to work out some other kinks first ;)

*unless you, you know, need the money.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby douglasm » Tue Mar 22, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

Things I learned Freshman year in college:
A) Skipping class once would not significantly affect my performance in that class.
B) Putting off or even missing one or two minor assignments similarly had a negligible impact on my grade.
C) There was no one to force me to not take advantage of A and B. Even the professors often didn't bother keeping track of attendance and usually did not punish anyone for being late or missing class.

Things I learned rather painfully in the following few years of college:
A) Skipping class "once or twice" turns into skipping class way too damn many times way too easily, and that does send your education and grade down the toilet.
B) Procrastinating on assignments and skipping an occasional minor one turns into skipping lots of assignments and finishing major projects either late or with poor quality way too easily, and that has an enormous impact on grades.
C) Acknowledging points A and B may be difficult and painful but it needs to be done, and if you can't muster the discipline to force yourself to go to class and do everything on time then you may need to recruit someone else to help force you.

Skipping class and procrastinating on or skipping assignments may be tempting, and for probably the first time in your life no one but the professor (and maybe not even him) will call you on it until final grades come out, but you really do need to fight that temptation.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Meem1029 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:58 pm UTC

One piece of advice I have (from experience this year, my freshman year) is no matter how easy you think an assignment will be, try not to leave it until the last minute unless you have to. I have had several late nights due to thinking an assignment would be trivial and finding out when I did it that is was far from, or had something that was easy but took a long time on it (like performing 20 or so matrix multiplications). Also, try to not take early classes. I figured last semester that an 8:00 would be fine for me since that worked fine in High School, forgetting about the fact that I would be around a bunch of other college students and not get to bed very early. Another tip, if you have classes that have multiple sessions, most professors are fine with you going to the other one if you have an activity that interferes with yours (such as not getting along with your alarm clock :wink: ).

Edit: The don't procrastinate tip especially applies to papers. Waiting until the last night to do an entire paper is not a good idea. Especially if you have a play that weekend and strike is going to go until 7 or 8. Yes, this is experience speaking again.

And another note: Have fun. Get to know people. There are lots of awesome people at college and you finally get freedom and ability to study what you want, not what the state wants you to. Take advantage of this. Try to take classes that interest you even if they aren't in your major. College is totally awesome.

And just a relevant quote I heard somewhere, although I'm not sure where. If anyone recognizes it, let me know so I can give credit to whoever said it.
"The worst possible place for university study is university.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:27 pm UTC

douglasm wrote:Things I learned Freshman year in college:
A) Skipping class once would not significantly affect my performance in that class.
B) Putting off or even missing one or two minor assignments similarly had a negligible impact on my grade.
C) There was no one to force me to not take advantage of A and B. Even the professors often didn't bother keeping track of attendance and usually did not punish anyone for being late or missing class.

Things I learned rather painfully in the following few years of college:
A) Skipping class "once or twice" turns into skipping class way too damn many times way too easily, and that does send your education and grade down the toilet.
B) Procrastinating on assignments and skipping an occasional minor one turns into skipping lots of assignments and finishing major projects either late or with poor quality way too easily, and that has an enormous impact on grades.
C) Acknowledging points A and B may be difficult and painful but it needs to be done, and if you can't muster the discipline to force yourself to go to class and do everything on time then you may need to recruit someone else to help force you.

Skipping class and procrastinating on or skipping assignments may be tempting, and for probably the first time in your life no one but the professor (and maybe not even him) will call you on it until final grades come out, but you really do need to fight that temptation.

Pretty much this. The study abroad place I'm at actually requires the profs to take attendance because the UK immigration people are OCD about making sure that the students are actually in class for a minimum of 12 hours every week. My roommates and I lookout for each other to make sure we get to class, although we once all missed class one the same day.

Another piece if advice I have is that all schools are party schools. Whether you party all day or not is not my business, but do be prepared that your classmates may party all the time. If your roommate gets so drunk he can't make it to the W.C. before vomiting, look for another dorm A.S.A.P.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby achan1058 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:48 am UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Another piece if advice I have is that all schools are party schools. Whether you party all day or not is not my business, but do be prepared that your classmates may party all the time. If your roommate gets so drunk he can't make it to the W.C. before vomiting, look for another dorm A.S.A.P.
Single room dormitory with good enforcement of quiet hours FTW.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Ulc » Thu Mar 24, 2011 8:57 am UTC

achan1058 wrote:Utilize your resources. Most TA and profs aren't out there to fail you. They would be happy for people to show up for office hours and such, as long as you don't bug them with trivial questions. (for example, it's fine to ask them to explain stuff to you, not so fine when you ask them to find every arithmetic mistake you make)


Only to some extent, most TA's are rightly annoyed when people come and ask "I don't understand [insert subject of the entire course] at all, please explain" - but most TA's appreciate being asked "I've read X & Y in the book, and they seem to contradict each other, I tried getting them to fit with each other using method Z, but that failed this way".

As in, don't ask stupid questions. And yes, stupid questions totally exist in college.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:47 pm UTC

Ulc wrote:
achan1058 wrote:Utilize your resources. Most TA and profs aren't out there to fail you. They would be happy for people to show up for office hours and such, as long as you don't bug them with trivial questions. (for example, it's fine to ask them to explain stuff to you, not so fine when you ask them to find every arithmetic mistake you make)


Only to some extent, most TA's are rightly annoyed when people come and ask "I don't understand [insert subject of the entire course] at all, please explain" - but most TA's appreciate being asked "I've read X & Y in the book, and they seem to contradict each other, I tried getting them to fit with each other using method Z, but that failed this way".

As in, don't ask stupid questions. And yes, stupid questions totally exist in college.


Many of my profs (TA's don't teach at my college) will gladly explain something to you if they (A) can remember you being in class all the time, (B) can see that you've read the textbook, and (C) actually put in some effort. Yes, there are stupid questions, but sometimes something just doesn't click and you just need a concept to be explained again. Don't feel embarrassed going to your profs (I had some major issues with that initially - caused my grades to go down a bit) if you just can't get it and you've tried.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby modularblues » Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:26 am UTC

Although friendships may come and go, friends made during college are likely to stay for life. It's important to have a strong support network, not only for academics, but also sanity upkeeping.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:19 am UTC

'What do I need to do to "Hit the ground running"?'
Engage your professors and your peers as part of your study habits. If there's a study group, attend it. If there's not, suggest one. You don't need to go crazy with this in all your classes; it's fine to focus on those classes that interest and/or challenge you most. Group study habits are invaluable and students who make an effort to develop them are more successful on average. It's not rocket science - doing homework alone can get pretty mind-numbing, no matter how interesting the subject matter. Leadership and teamwork skills are in high demand; the best way to start developing them in school is to get used to interacting with people in small group situations where there's not a teacher actively guiding you (i.e., outside of class).

If you try to approach school as an opportunity for you to take a desirable experience from your institution, to get something you want and need from the student body and the faculty and the curriculum, you may find that motivation and work habits become a bit more approachable issues. Being involved with your peers also does wonders for study habits. Aside from that I have no specific advice for time management; everyone is different in that regard.

'Would it be ideal to work part time while attending?'
As a freshman, absolutely not. Once you've started to get a feel for college, if you find opportunities to work (or volunteer) in ways that enhance your study or allow you to explore potential careers, working during college can be amazing. But right now you'll need to be open to new things and flexible with your time and your habits so that you can take full advantage of opportunities to take whichever classes you want and participate in whichever clubs and activities you want, without having a supervisor telling you they need you to work this or that shift. My advice is that unless you need to work in order to attend at all, do not work significant hours in your freshman year. Work-study at your school is an exception; I still wouldn't advise 15-20 hours a week, but within reasonable limits for time commitment, work-study results in more involvement at your college rather than less and is a good thing.
Ulc wrote:...most TA's are rightly annoyed when people come and ask "I don't understand [insert subject of the entire course] at all, please explain" ... As in, don't ask stupid questions.

IMO, if the TA is not savvy enough to simply say, "That's too broad for me to address, you need to bring it in to the professor's office hour," and suggest perhaps reading the text one more time beforehand, that's the TA's problem. Until you have asked a couple stupid questions, odds are you won't be a good judge of what is or isn't a stupid question. Nobody has the right to get annoyed the first (or even the second) time you come to them with a question that might have been better to figure out on your own. They should just be glad it wasn't the other way around - students who don't come to their professors or TAs with questions that they should have had addressed end up with gaps in their education even when they make the grade they wanted.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby tastelikecoke » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:31 am UTC

I'm on the same place as the op. I think I have few problems in the time management part. I copy my classmate's assignments because of procrastination, but sometimes I get mocked by my classmates for doing homeworks very early.
modularblues wrote:Although friendships may come and go, friends made during college are likely to stay for life. It's important to have a strong support network, not only for academics, but also sanity upkeeping.

I don't really understand what's wrong but I haven't made any good friends until my 4th year in high school. Maybe it's just me thinking I have no friends, but I'm just not positive about my social life.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby _Axle_ » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:13 am UTC

tastelikecoke wrote:
modularblues wrote:Although friendships may come and go, friends made during college are likely to stay for life. It's important to have a strong support network, not only for academics, but also sanity upkeeping.

I don't really understand what's wrong but I haven't made any good friends until my 4th year in high school. Maybe it's just me thinking I have no friends, but I'm just not positive about my social life.


Don't worry about trying hard to make friends, if you aren't a major social person. This is coming from someone who when looking back... made little to no friends in High School ( I talked to people, but wouldn't put them on friend level ), but I had 2 good friends that I knew since 6th grade. I am like 2 weeks from College graduation and I would say throughout my time here, I am probably around 10 good friends. My definition of friend is probably off from most people . . . cause of the 'facebook era' of people.

A good tip for transitioning to college, as well as possible friends/social ... ask questions to classmates. If you are in the same class and you have trouble with work, ask questions/study groups.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby zmatt » Fri Apr 15, 2011 3:25 pm UTC

For your freshmen year I would not work and i would live on campus. This way you will be close to class in case you sleep in due to poor time management, you will meet a lot of people as well. Only once you have done alright your freshmen year would I recommend getting a job or moving off campus. I happen to work 32 hour weeks and be a fulltime student, but I am pretty good at time management. I'm also an upper classman which means I have 4 individual classes and have them scheduled specifically to allow me to work. I need the money :P

Also most classes wont care if you miss one or two. My uni has a policy for 7 unexcused absences gives you an incomplete. Thing is ,most professors don't take attendance. The catch is if you just stop going your grade goes as well. Some classes have everything you need to know in the lecture, so you don't have to read some have everything in the reading so the lecture is a waste. Some have both. Learn which is which. I haven't read an assigned book cover to cover in 4 years and I have a 3.6 GPA, you may not be like me though.

Don't buy your books at the beginning of the semester. Go to one or two lectures before you buy the books to see if you really need them. College textbooks are a racket, if you don't have to buy them then don't. That money can go towards ramen.

Avoid fraternities and sororities. That is all.

Writing a paper is a science. Learn it and your life will be much easier. have your thesis, find three supporting points, and your conclusion is your thesis. Each point is one paragraph and the thesis and conclusion are a paragraph each. For long papers, add points. If i were you I would find my sources and summarize what you will say about them along with the citation. That way when you actually write it, you just restate that, but with more words. I normally have a text file on the side with my paragraphs charted out. I can kill 10 pages in a weekend this way. Research is and always will be the hardest part unless this is one of those stupid classes where they teach you how to write. Also, if they allow it chicago style is your friend. You will be amazed how footnotes can eat up margins and still not count against you.

The higher the class the more important the test and papers are. The lower the class, the more like highschool it looks like. All of my classes are 300 or 400 level and I don't have "homework" aside from assigned reading, which I don't do. This makes the day to day easier, but it puts all the pressure on two or three key assignments. This doesn't work out well for everyone.

Get in good with your professors, if they see that you are interested in the subject matter and care about it then your life will be easier on you even if you bomb a test or two. Many will bend over backwards for students who give a rat's ass about what they do. And if you are genuinely interested in the subject it can also open up opportunities in research and meeting contacts down the road. Also good.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:49 pm UTC

Here's a tip that's not applicable to everyone; but will probably help some...

With respect to the consumption of alcoholic beverages:
Being able to hold a lot of drink , does not neccisacrily mean you can handle it well...
By all means experiment, get loaded and act like a knob a couple of times; But then sit down and work out how much you can drink and still be fun to be around, rather than how much you can drink and still be standing.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby achan1058 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:23 pm UTC

zmatt wrote:The higher the class the more important the test and papers are. The lower the class, the more like highschool it looks like. All of my classes are 300 or 400 level and I don't have "homework" aside from assigned reading, which I don't do. This makes the day to day easier, but it puts all the pressure on two or three key assignments. This doesn't work out well for everyone.
This is not necessary true. From a sample data of 2 schools, I know that upper math courses counts assignments heavier and heavier, up to 50%, or sometimes even 100% with no finals. It's the 100 calc classes which has the 1% HW's (and a lot of them, to be sure) that doesn't count that much to your final grades.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Raeil » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:52 am UTC

I dealt with this two years ago, so hopefully I can be of some assistance. The posters before me have done an excellent job outlining and specifying a great number of really important things you should do to be prepared. My suggestions are as follows:

1) Once you know where you will live, figure out what you will need to buy before you get there, then buy some of that stuff early. This will hopefully prevent you from bringing toiletries but forgetting that you need a broom because there isn't one with the room or available for checkout from a front desk. If you're living off campus, this is even more important.

2) Your first year needs to be about acclimating to the school. Test yourself on how many credit hours, extracurriculars, and social events you can take. This will help provide a good framework for the later years as you take more difficult classes, since you'll know what your limits are and where you can cut things out of your schedule.

3) Most importantly, get to know people! Having a good network of friends on campus is the best resource there is. Period. Yes you can go to TAs and professors, and they are a great source of information, but you will likely be with your first-year friends for the entirety of your college career. These friends will likely develop into your primary family, as you'll likely be away from your real family. If they're from your degree program, even better, as you'll see them constantly. Honestly, I don't know how I would survive on my campus without my close-knit group of friends.

Well, there's my thoughts I hope that helps with your preparations and plans. Good luck during your first year!
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Triangle_Man » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:44 pm UTC

I'm not sure what I can add here; however, earlier advice about an hours worth of studying per day is sound and useful. This semester I allowed myself to get too caught up in posting on forums and stuff all the time, and I am currently paying for it as I am forced to cram as much as possible for the exams I will need to take over the next two weeks.

In short, you want to be prepared for midterms, exams and other quizzes as much as possible, and a bit of studying now to refresh your memory will keep you from a lot of panic, stress and despair later in the semester.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!

In terms of focused studying, it also helps to identify and eliminate the sources of your detraction. The university you are attending can provide a quiet place to get some focused reading in, and if you are anything like me you will want to avoid electronics and other distractions as much as possible.

That's all I have to say for now, I guess.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby Meem1029 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:08 am UTC

Another piece of advice. Find a space you can go to get a chance to relax away from other people. You will need it sometimes. I know for me my college has an arboretum that I can go walk around in, and I do occasionally just to relax and get away from all the fast paced college life.
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Re: Transitioning from high school to college

Postby KestrelLowing » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:46 pm UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:I'm not sure what I can add here; however, earlier advice about an hours worth of studying per day is sound and useful. This semester I allowed myself to get too caught up in posting on forums and stuff all the time, and I am currently paying for it as I am forced to cram as much as possible for the exams I will need to take over the next two weeks.

In short, you want to be prepared for midterms, exams and other quizzes as much as possible, and a bit of studying now to refresh your memory will keep you from a lot of panic, stress and despair later in the semester.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!

In terms of focused studying, it also helps to identify and eliminate the sources of your detraction. The university you are attending can provide a quiet place to get some focused reading in, and if you are anything like me you will want to avoid electronics and other distractions as much as possible.

That's all I have to say for now, I guess.


Depending on your major/college, you'll probably need far more than an hour of studying per day - unless this is just talking about 'studying' and not doing projects/homework/labs. The general rule of thumb for my college is double the number of credit hours you're taking and that's how much time you'll need for other things. So if you're taking 15 credits, plan for 30 hours outside of class per week.

Of course this rule isn't set in stone. I've typically found this is the max I will have on any week. Also, various classes will need more or less. I've found the majority of labs need more than 2x the credit hours because of horrible lab reports. However, usually there's at least one class that doesn't need quite it's fair share.

My first semester I probably only did a half hour or work outside of class for every hour in class, but now (I'll be my 4th year in the fall) I'm usually closer to the 2 hours outside of class for every hour in class, although that's usually the max.

I also agree with the finding a quiet place to do homework. I can't do homework in my room, too many distractions. I do it in the computer labs, even when I don't need a computer (unless there are people there who actually need a computer, but I usually just sit in front of the linux ones that no one uses - I'm in mechanical engineering). Everyone there is usually working on homework, and it's usually fairly quiet without being stifling like the library.
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KestrelLowing
 
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