15 to Finish

To complete a four-year degree in four years or a two-year degree in two years, you must earn an average of 15 credit hours per semester. Research shows that students who take at least 15 credit hours are far more likely to graduate than those who take fewer than 15. And it might sound surprising, but students who take 15 credits tend to do better academically than those who don’t. So when you build your schedule, make sure you’re taking at least 15 credit hours toward your degree. It will save you time and money – and increase your likelihood of graduating.

Take 15 to Finish:

  • Taking 15 credit hours or more per semester is essential to completing a degree “on time” – within four years. However, new students who require more than one foundation course are recommended to take only 13-14 credits their first semester to increase their likelihood of success. 
  • Taking 15 credit hours or more per semester is essential to completing a degree “on time” – within four years.
  • But too few students are taking this full course load because they don’t realize what it means for timely degree completion, and oftentimes they’re worried that their academic achievement will decline.
  • Not only does taking this full course load increase the likelihood that a student will graduate within four years, research has shown taking 15 credit hours actually improves academic outcomes.
  • In addition, it reduces student loan debt, saves students money on tuition, and improves their employment prospects by allowing them to begin their professional careers as soon as possible.
  • West Virginia is encouraging students to take this full course load, get better grades, graduate on time, save money, and get a jumpstart on their careers – and their futures.
  • College graduates earn more money over their lifetimes than those with a high school diploma. They also enjoy more stable employment and are more likely to receive health and pension benefits.
  • The bottom line is: a college degree in West Virginia today is essential. And taking 15 credit hours each semester is the fastest and smartest way to get there.

Do the math:

The mathTo graduate “on time,” you need to take at least 15 credit hours per semester.

To earn a bachelor’s degree in four years or an associate degree in two years, you must complete at least 15 credit hours toward your degree per semester — or 30 in an academic year.

Make a game plan:

Taking 15 credit hours per semester is important to staying on track for your degree — but you can’t take just ANY 15 credits. Work with your advisor to map out your schedule for each Take 15semester of your college career.

Creating a game plan will help you stay on track and avoid scheduling problems that could delay your graduation. Some classes require a prerequisite, meaning you can’t enroll until you’ve completed another requirement (usually another class). For example, you may have to take biology 101 before enrolling in biology 201. Also, colleges don’t offer every class every semester — so it’s important to build your schedule around when classes will be available.

Get to know your advisors:

Requirements vary from program to program, so you should work closely with your academic advisors to make sure you’re on track for your particular degree. Academic advisors are your get to know your advisorsadvocates — they’re here to help! Advisors can help you:

  • manage your class load and create a balanced schedule
  • get back on track if you have challenges
  • select or change majors or minors
  • accommodate special class credits, such as credits earned while studying abroad or from another college
  • find internships or co-curricular opportunities

Your professors are also valuable supporters who can help you make connections on campus, catch up when you get off track, and learn more about areas that interest you.

Related resources:

First Bullet – Taking 15 credit hours or more per semester is essential to completing a degree “on time” – within four years. However, new students who require more than one foundation course are recommended to take only 13-14 credits their first semester to increase their likelihood of success.