Taking a Third Class

When I completed LAUNCH last fall, I asked a Seattle-commuting Weekend student about how his quarter was going, and he mentioned in passing that he was enrolled in three classes. An option I hadn’t previously considered.

Part-time students have varied reasons for why they choose to ramp up their enrollment. One out-of-state Weekend student I talked to wanted to maximize academic value considering the significant time investment of traveling. Another student wanted to work around seasonality in their job, allowing for little-to-no course load during heavy seasons. I ended up going for three classes my first quarter as I was personally drawn to the idea of front-loading on classes to provide flexibility in case I choose to elect a full quarter of studying abroad.

Regardless of your motivation for taking three classes or more as a part-time student, managing a full academic plate is a big commitment. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide on whether the approach is a good fit for you and some tips on how to make the most of it:

Key Questions When Considering Three-Plus

1. Does my schedule allow for it? If you’re already working 70 or more hours per week (not even factoring commutes), chances are a third or fourth class may be a stretch when you think about the homework and additional requirements a course comes with.

2. Will taking more classes now be better for me down the road? Maybe the start-up you founded looks like it will soon require more and more of your time. Or maybe you have a transfer to an international office looming on not-so-distant the horizon. In such cases, you may find it hard to stay within the five-year completion window for an MBA. That said, if your time in the near future seems more permitting, it may be a good idea to take on a few more courses now to keep you on track to graduate.

Tips for Managing a Full Load

1. Check course evaluations and syllabi - These are invaluable resources to help you gauge weekly workload of classes and assessing which courses may be complementary. For example, you might want to break up the monotony of three heavy quant classes with a case-based course that involves a reasonable amount of time dedicated to group work.

2. Judiciously use time off for study - This may not be ideal to hear, but if doing well on your degree is high on the priority scale, it would be a good idea to allocate some days for emergency homework purposes.

3. Do a Week 3 Check-in - The deadline for dropping without landing a “W” on your transcript is Friday of Week 3 in a given quarter. At the start of that week, assess whether you think the lifestyle is manageable. If not, it’s not too late to drop.

Of course, don’t forget to available of the resources available to you via Academic Advising and Career Coaching to further help you prioritize.

Klariza Alvaran works in marketing and dabbles in creative pursuits on the side. She enjoys writing sci-fi, crocheting hats, and making music.