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The Average College Time Put Into Homework vs. High School

by Courtney O'Banion Smith, Demand Media

    In high school, you may have finished homework in the hall right before class on more than one occasion and still earned a good grade; that just isn't possible in college. College freshmen are usually shocked at how much time they are expected to spend on coursework outside of class. You can expect to spend as much time on homework in college as you would at a job.

    Two-or-Three-for-One Rule

    The Teaching and Learning Center of the University of Oregon recommends that you spend at least two to three hours per course hour reading, studying or doing homework. Likewise, the University of Michigan-Flint recommends between six to nine hours of study time per week per three-credit hour course. Therefore, a full-time student taking four courses will devote, on average, between three to five hours per day working on coursework in addition to class time. Although these figures may seem high compared to high school, they are not outlandish considering what you will have to do during that time.

    Lectures

    Many high schools offer an open period or study hall, and you can study or finish homework during that time. Also, many teachers may give you time during their classes to work on homework or read. However, in college, you must complete all the assignments and reading before coming to class, as the professor reserves class time for lecture or discussion.

    Read, Read, Read

    You will read a lot more per class in college than you did in high school. Also, the content of the text will be more complicated and difficult to understand. As a result, reading will take you longer. If you skim, you won’t understand or remember important information that will be on the test or discussed in class, and your grade will reflect your lack of effort. Remember that just because assigned reading is never discussed in class or mentioned in lecture doesn't mean it won’t be on the test.

    Nothing But Tests

    Some professors will not require minor homework assignments in addition to the readings but will give only major tests. This means that reading, review and study time are even more crucial, as flunking just one test will negatively affect your overall grade in the course, possibly beyond redemption.

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    About the Author

    Courtney O'Banion Smith holds degrees in communication, English and creative writing. For more than 11 years, she has taught English, composition, literature, and creative writing courses to college students from diverse backgrounds both face-to-face and online.

    Photo Credits

    • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

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