Normalize 12-hour semesters

By Grace Fortier | Photographer

The average number of credit hours for a student to take each semester is between 14 and 16. If you hear of someone taking fewer than that, your reaction is probably wondering why they are taking such a light or easy course load. On the other hand, if you hear of someone taking more than that, it is often a huge congratulations for them being able to manage all of those classes. I hear so many people being judged — in both instances — for their decisions on how many credit hours to take, and honestly, it’s unacceptable. We need to normalize taking 12-hour semesters.

Let me be honest: During my freshman year, I completely overwhelmed myself with classes to the point where I considered if college was the right decision for me. Freshman year is such a lifestyle change for everyone, that taking a heavy course load really isn’t the best choice. Since then, I have learned from my mistake, and now, I only take between 12 and 13 credit hours each semester.

Thankfully, because of dual credit classes from high school, I am able to take lighter course loads, but I completely understand that this isn’t an option for everyone. For some students, it can also come down to price since Baylor offers flat rate tuition whether you’re taking 12 or 18 credit hours. If that’s you, it’s still important to mix easy and difficult classes or to take more credit hours in the fall and fewer in the spring. Even throwing in some lifetime fitness classes can give you a break from the classroom, and it is a great way to get some exercise in.

My decision to take fewer credit hours than the typical student takes has given me the opportunity to gain work experience through student employment opportunities, get involved by holding leadership positions in different organizations on campus and focus more on the classes I am taking.

Being well-rounded in college is very important, and taking lighter course loads gives you that extra time to get involved while still managing classes. You are able to gain experience through other involvements that you can’t always receive inside the classroom.