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Credit Hours: What to Know

College is measured in credits or credit hours, which means they're pretty important. They can impact your graduation date, your schedule every semester, and even the status of your financial aid! Here's a quick rundown of what credit hours are, how they work and how they can affect you:

What Are Credit Hours?

Credit hours are the way to measure your class time in college. Your number of credit hours per class is calculated by how many hours per week you spend in that class. For example, the average Monday/Wednesday/Friday class is three credit hours, because you go to that class for an hour three times each week.

Why Are They Important?

Credit hours are what determine whether or not you're a full-time or part-time student. To be considered a full-time student, you need to take at least 12 credit hours in one semester. If you take any fewer than that, you'll be considered part-time. This can be bad, because most financial aid is only for full-time students, so carefully read over your financial aid to see if you're still eligible for it if you plan to attend as a part-time student.

How Many Do You Have to Have?

Credit hours also affect your class standing. You have to have a certain amount of hours completed to be considered a sophomore, junior, or senior. This number varies from college to college, but the general rule is you have to have 30 completed hours to be considered a sophomore, 60 to be a junior, and 90 to be a senior. When viewing your college degree, make sure to see how many hours you must complete to earn your degree, and make sure you reach that number, or you won't be able to graduate! Your academic advisor can help you make sure that you're on track to graduate on time.