How To Plan Your College Schedule

Picking classes for college can be intimidating. We’re here to help.

Twice a year, you’re going to have to sit down and decide what classes you’re going to take for your upcoming semester of college. And even if you know your major requirements and have a good advisor helping you out, you still might feel totally lost.

That’s exactly why we decided to lay out everything you need to know about planning your class schedule for college. From how many credits you need to what happens if you fail a course in college, we’ve got it all covered.

How many classes do you take in college?


It’s easier to determine how many classes you need to take in college if you look at credit hours. Degrees are based on credit hours rather than the amount of classes you take total.

The average undergraduate degree takes around 120 credit hours. Most of the classes you’ll take in college are 3-5 credit hours. That averages out to 24-40 classes over the course of your college career.

How many classes should I take in college?

Determining how many classes to take in college depends on your major and coursework requirements. Most of your college classes will be about 3 credit hours, but some (like certain foreign language classes and science labs) are usually 5 credit hours.

As we said before, most majors will require you to take anywhere from 24-40 classes over the course of your time as an undergrad. Be sure to check with your advisor to see what your specific major requirements are.

How many classes do you take per semester in college?

The average college schedule usually involves 4-5 classes per semester. Again, most of this is dependent on your major, as certain degrees will require a more rigorous class schedule.

Most advisors will recommend you take 15 hours per semester in order to meet your major requirements within a 4-year timeline. Anything more than 15 hours per semester is usually overwhelming, and anything under 12 will likely have your status listed as a part-time student.

How many classes do you have to take in college?

The average undergraduate degree is 120 credit hours. This equates to anything from 24-40 classes over the course of your college career.

You’re obviously going to be taking classes related to your major, but half of your credits (approximately 60, or 12-20 classes) are going to be devoted to general education. Even if you know your major right off the bat, your first two years of college are mainly going to be general education credits.

Here are the most common general education credits you’ll take in college:

  • English Composition
  • Foreign Language
  • Natural Sciences
  • Arts & Humanities
  • Math
  • Social Studies
  • First-Year Specific Classes

Failing classes in college


Failing a class in college can be a major detriment to getting your degree done on time. Unless you failed a class you aren’t required to take, you’ll likely have to re-do the class, which means paying more tuition.

Colleges will give you an opportunity to take the class again, but most won’t allow you to re-do a course twice. You also might have the opportunity to take a slightly more accelerated version of the same class over the summer or online.

If you fail a class that’s a cornerstone for your major (like if you fail your bio lab as a pre-med), you’re going to want to consider changing majors.

Failing two classes in college

Failing one class in college is one thing, but failing two classes in college? Now you might be in for some serious trouble.

Aside from the fact that you’re likely going to spend longer than 4 years getting your undergraduate degree and that you’ll be paying extra tuition, your college might have its own punishments.

Since getting into college is such a competitive process, some schools might take multiple failings as grounds for dismissal. They could potentially view it as you not taking your studies seriously or being completely out of your depth when it comes to what you chose as your major.

What to do if you fail a class in college

The first step in recovering from failing a class in college is to catch the slide before it happens. Stay on top of your grades so you can see when your GPA starts to slip.

Once you see that things aren’t going well, reach out to your professor for help. Most professors want you to do well in their class and will be more than willing to give you 1:1 help or provide you with additional resources in order to raise your grade.

If that doesn’t work, it might be time to find outside help with a tutor. Lots of colleges have free tutoring services available on campus, so reach out and see if another student, graduate student, or TA can help you out.

When all else fails (no pun intended), you might have to make up the class over the summer. Summer tuition is usually slightly cheaper than regular tuition, so try and take the class then to help save you some money.

Easy college classes


We all know the mantra of college is “Work smart, not hard,” so, of course, you’re going to want to enroll in a few courses that can buff up your GPA. But how do you know which classes will actually be a cakewalk?

While there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to easy college classes, there are some that are usually easier than others. We guarantee you’ve never heard anyone say their chem lab was the easiest class they took in college.

Easy college classes to boost GPA

As you’re planning out your schedule for the next semester, here are some classes to keep in mind that usually aren’t as demanding as others:

  • Film history
  • Introduction to creative writing
  • Physical education
  • Introduction to psychology
  • Public speaking
  • Anthropology
  • Art History
  • Acting
  • Photography
  • Music appreciation

Easiest college class

There isn’t one 100% easiest college class, but a few are known for being far easier than others. Of the courses we listed above, these are the few that are almost always a total walk in the park for boosting your GPA. See if you can fit them into your class schedule ASAP.

  • Film history
  • Physical education
  • Introduction to psychology

People Also Ask…

Are AP classes college classes?

While AP classes aren’t college classes, per se, you can still get college credit when you take them in high school. But there are some things you need to know about actually taking advantage of the credit you can get for taking an AP class in high school.

  1. You must take the AP exam to receive college credit.
  2. There isn’t a hard and fast rule on what your score needs to be in order to get college credit. For some classes, the minimum requirement is a 3, while others are a 4 or 5.
  3. You have to submit your scores to any of the colleges you’re planning on applying to.
  4. There might not be a direct correlation between the class you took in high school to what’s offered at your college. Keep this in mind as you choose your AP classes.

What are other ways to get college credit?

AP classes aren’t the only way you can get college credit before you actually head off to college. Consider these options, as well:

  • Some high schools partner with local colleges to offer credit for regular courses you’re already taking in high school. There will be additional work that you’re required to do in order to receive college credit, but it’s worth it since the cost is much lower than regular tuition.
  • Working while in high school may also make you eligible for college credit. Check with your employer to see if this is an option for you.

Save on back-to-school shopping with Student Beans

Thinking about living at home for college? Read this guide on college from home to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.