Is it better to take 12 or 15 credits?

Is it better to take 12 or 15 <a href="">credits</a>?

12 credits 15 credits
Time commitment Less time committed to school work More time committed to school work
Graduation timeline May take longer to graduate Can graduate sooner
Benefits May have more time for part-time jobs or extracurricular activities Better chance of earning higher grades and staying enrolled in school
Challenges May not be eligible for financial aid or scholarships that require a higher credit load May require more time management skills and discipline

Is it better to take 12 or 15 credits?

Student studying

One common question that students face when planning their college schedules is whether to take 12 or 15 credits per semester. While there are pros and cons to each option, studies have shown that taking a heavier course load can have significant benefits.


Why should I take 15 credits instead of 12?

A recent report by the Community College Research Center adds to the evidence of what we’ve found to be true in Indiana and at institutions across the country: students who take 15 or more credits per semester earn better grades, are more likely to stay enrolled in school, and most important of all, they are far more likely to graduate with a degree or transfer to a four-year school than are students who take lighter credit loads.

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Students discussing

In addition to this, taking a heavier course load can help you graduate sooner, as you may be able to complete your degree requirements in less time. This can be especially beneficial if you are paying for your education out of pocket or if you want to enter the workforce as soon as possible.

Are there any disadvantages to taking 15 credits?

While taking a heavier course load can have its benefits, it can also be challenging. Students who take 15 credits not only have to manage their time more carefully, but they may also need to develop stronger study habits and discipline. Additionally, some financial aid or scholarships may require a higher credit load, so students who take 15 credits may not be eligible for certain forms of financial assistance.

Student studying outdoors

What if I can’t handle 15 credits?

While taking a heavier course load can be beneficial, it is not the right choice for everyone. If you are unsure whether you can handle 15 credits, consider starting with 12 and gradually increasing your course load as you become more comfortable with your workload. Additionally, you can speak with your academic advisor or a tutor to get extra support and guidance.


While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should take 12 or 15 credits, taking a heavier course load can have significant benefits. By taking 15 credits per semester, you may be more likely to earn higher grades, stay enrolled in school, and graduate sooner. However, it is important to weigh these benefits against the potential challenges, such as the need for better time management skills and the risk of not being eligible for certain types of financial assistance. Ultimately, the choice between 12 and 15 credits comes down to your personal goals, preferences, and abilities.

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Students celebrating graduation

Learn more about taking 12 vs. 15 credits here
Read this guide for tips on how many classes to take each semester
Find out how to create the perfect college schedule here

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