It’s easy to seriously underestimate how much time you should dedicate to college courses.

Don’t assume that online courses can be completed in less time than traditional classroom instruction.

After all, you can work at your own pace and you have a high speed Internet connection, right?

Wrong, don’t assume that online courses will be any easier than classroom instruction. You should schedule at least as much time for your online classes as for traditional classes.

On the other hand, online courses can also save you a lot of valuable time. Commuting distance is no longer a factor. You are free to attend the College which offers the best courses for your goals. You can also fit the classes around your unique schedule. This could allow you to continue work while completing college.

So, how much time should you budget? A normal 3 credit hour course normally meets for 2 to 3 hours per week. So a 16 week course contains between 32 to 48 hours of class time. If you estimate 2 hours of study per hour of class time, you can see that a 3 credit hour course can take up to 144 combined hours of class, study and homework time. You should plan on an online course to take at least as much time as its classroom counterpart. Don’t underestimate how long an online class should take.

So think twice before you sign up for multiple courses.

I believe that a motivated student can accomplish everything in less time than I estimated above, but you should use these estimates as your worst case assumption. So until you have some experience with your own pace and intensity, budget the amounts of time shown above for your classes.


The student who is just starting out with online education should budget at least as much time for the online courses as for the equivalent classroom courses.

Author's Bio: 

Phil Gabbard is a world traveling engineer who has worked in Europe, Asia, the Mid-East and the US for more years than he would care to admit.

While working in remote locations, he has developed various ways to effectively study, complete college degrees, and continue his education. He also emphasizes goal setting for self improvement and time management techniques.

He has collected his writings at his website: Please visit his site and download one of his free reports or subscribe to his newsletter.

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