Posted in HS4CC

Parent Question: For dual enrollment, I read that a 1 credit class has less work than a 3 credit class. Is that true?

Great question!! If you listen to the parent’s feedback in all our groups, you’ll hear over and over that a 1 credit class is not 1/3 the work of a 3 credit class. My son took a 6 credit class in North Carolina for dual enrollment and guess what? It wasn’t “double” the work of his 3 credit class!

Colleges do have a lot of metrics that go into the number of credits a class is worth. Depending on your state, your college probably estimates 1 college credit hour as worth about 15 hours of work for a unit of time. If your teen takes a full 16 week class, that’s about 1 hour per week. If that same course is taken over a 5 week summer session, then it’s about 3 hours per week.

When you shift the activities to an online format, it’s easier for colleges to take a literal count of the number of minutes your teen watches a video, lecture, or PowerPoint presentation. I can tell you from personal experience that sitting in class listening and watching and engaging for an hour “feels” like a lot less work than if I spend an hour on the computer doing tedious busy work.

A few years ago, my #3 son took a 6 credit class for dual enrollment. I lightened his homeschool schedule in anticipation of a big class, but it was no where near “double” the work of his other 3 credit classes!! He still had 1 weekly assignment, 1 weekly discussion forum, 1 weekly quiz, 1 mid-term, 1 final, etc. So, the number of credits is important for things like financial aid (after high school) and full time vs part time enrollment status (after high school) but it’s not a good metric for understanding the amount of work that will be required.

1 class = 1 class

Be ready for any college dual enrollment class to take a lot of time and brain space no matter how many credits it is. Math classes will require a lot of time to solve problems, English classes will require a lot of time to write papers. Literature classes will require a lot to time to read and analyze, and Spanish or any foreign language will likely require a lot of time to study. Sciences may require extra time for lab reports and memorizing, and any subject that is 100% new to your student takes time to marinate in the content (synthesis) and learn. Be ready for online classes to have an element of busy-work, they all do.

For now, 1 class = 1 class is a good rule of thumb. Pay less attention to the number of credits, and instead know that every class will require a good bit of time.

other parent questions…

Parent Question: Should my daughter re-do a class?

Question: I have daughter in her first semester of dual enrollment. She has all A’s except for Pre Cal Algebra. She currently has a C. She is worried about her GPA.Everything else (other grades, testing, etc.) are high achieving. It’s this one class. She is afraid it will affect her college and scholarship…


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit

2 thoughts on “Parent Question: For dual enrollment, I read that a 1 credit class has less work than a 3 credit class. Is that true?

  1. Hi Jennifer, Will ASU offer self-paced biology or earth and space science again? I notice they are instructor paced now. Thanks, Kaaren Sealey


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