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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