How to Take 18+ Credit Hours While Maintaining Your GPA (and Your Sanity)

Sometimes taking 18+ credits is unavoidable—maybe you’re double majoring and space is tight in your schedule, or a certain class caught your eye and you had to take it…or, you’re just really ambitious. The good news is that with some planning and extra effort, you can get through it without too much of a struggle.

Here are my top tips for a headache-free semester:

Pick classes that you like.

It’s a lot easier to buckle down and write that essay when you’re actually interested in the topic. When you love the classes you’re taking, you’re more motivated, energized, and engaged—meaning that you’ll get more out of them in the end. When you’re crafting your schedule, try to aim for a balance between required courses and courses you’ll actually enjoy. Maybe pair that killer math class with a creative writing course you’ve always wanted to take, and spread out your tougher requirements over several semesters instead of cramming them all into a single, miserable semester.

Gif: Chalkboard writing

Take advantage of time between classes.

Something you’re going to have to budget a little more carefully with a packed schedule is your time. Moments that you may have taken for granted before—like that innocent half-hour you spend every day scrolling through Twitter—turn into precious bits of homework time. If you take advantage of all of these free moments throughout your day to get work done, you’ll have a much more manageable workload once you’re out of class for the day.

Gif: Notebook open and close

Find study spots close to your classes.

What’s great: having a favorite coffee shop to study in. What’s not so great: when that coffee shop is a thirty-minute walk from your dorm, and you eat up a lot of your study time just getting there. Early in the semester, scope out study spots that are close to your classes and where you live—you’ll spend less time commuting, and more time being productive.

Gif: Kid dancing at computer

Get a planner.


Gif: Writing in notebook

Work ahead whenever possible.

You never know what’s going to come up at the last second, so if you ever have a pocket of free time and something you could work ahead on, do it. Your future self will thank you.

Gif: "Self-five"

Take care of yourself.

I have friends who used to skip entire meals because they were studying, or consistently got only four hours of sleep a night. And they were miserable. It may seem brave or ambitious to put your physical needs on the backburner to get as much work done as possible, but in the end, you’re not doing yourself any favors. If you’re not in your best mental, physical, and emotional states, you won’t be able to reach your full potential—end of story. Prioritize healthy meals, sleep, exercise, and time to relax and recharge with your friends.

Gif: Princess & the Frog

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

19 + 7 =