For many schools, one class usually equals three credits*. In order to be full time (and get all the benefits of financial aid), you’ll need a minimum of 12 credits each semester. For freshman, it’s best to stay between 12 to 15 credits. Going over 15 credits could present some challenges since this is your first semester in school. (Does not apply to honor students who can be required to have up to 18 credits) Take the first semester easy and focus on getting the best possible grades, as well as getting acquainted with your surroundings and professors.
Here are a few tips:
Meet With Your Academic Counselor
Most schools require freshman to meet with their academic counselors to pick classes. Make sure to meet with them at the earliest date possible. As a freshman you may not have a clear idea of what your major is yet, however, your general education courses should be listed.
Please do not wait until it’s a week before classes to register. You’ll end up having slim chances of getting all the classes you want and you may run the risk of having to register for filler classes. What’s a filler class? A filler class is something you add to your schedule so you won’t lose your status as a full-time student. You’ll end up taking a random class you probably don’t need. It’s a waste of time and money.
Keep a List
You should keep a some type of list or chart of every class you’ve taken, starting with your freshman year. You should know how each class has served its part in your collegiate career. Whether it’s a general education course, a major course, or elective, you should know why you took it. Your academic counselor will have access to this but it’s good to have for your own records.
*There are schools which count one class as 4 credits instead of 3. (I attend one so they’re definitely out there.) In this case, you’d want to do 16 to 20 credits possibly. These schools also have their own credit restraints for freshman.