Question about credit hours and classes per semester…again

Jan 1, 2013
Hi everyone. I have another question about the amount of credit hours to take per semester/classes. I have heard so many different opinions about this and it’s freaking me out. For the past 4 semesters I have not really taken that many credits per semester; I kept it at about 12-14 per semester and I was really only taking 1 pre-med pre-requisite at a time, with the exception of winter semester last year where i took statistics with chemistry. I’m debating whether to do a 12 or 15 credit semester for winter. A 12 credit semester would be easier on me (for ECs) because I would be able to fit in more time for my ECs and it would be much more flexible for me to fit them in (I do research (including observation and data at a site far from campus) and I tutor and volunteer), but I know that it would look better to take on a more rigorous course load. I’m a psychology major and I only plan on taking 1 physics class and 2-3 other major related classes, since I declared my major sophomore year. I also plan on taking an extra year to finish undergrad (graduate in 2016 instead of 2015). I plan on having this semester being my last ‘light’ credit semester and will take more credits from here on out, probably around 15 a semester with multiple pre-med classes. I guess my questions are:

1. What does the ‘ideal’ schedule look like? (how many pre-med pre-reqs per semester)

2. Does taking 1 pre-med science/math class per semester look bad? ): esp. if you are just taking gen eds or major classes along with it???? :/

I would really like some clarification on this. thanks :)
May 30, 2013
The "ideal" schedule really depends on you. If you're used to taking only one pre-med requisite (science class) per semester, it wouldn't be too smart to jump into taking 3-4 at a time. Start with 2 and add on a lab, if you think that will be safe. Remember that there are a lot of pre-requisites that are absolutely required, and also ones that are "recommended." It really depends on what you want to be on your transcript when you apply; if you want to have lots of science classes to show for in addition to your required pre-requisites, then you should try to take as many science classes as you can handle, before the semester where you are applying.

Personally, I took, at minimum, 15 hour semesters every semester, with at least 3 science classes each semester. Some semesters, like when I was taking organic chemistry, I only took organic chemistry and its associated lab. Other semesters, I took physics, physics lab, and a biology elective like human physiology. Don't take a lot of rigorous classes at the same time, try to diversify; for example, if you're taking physics/physics lab in one semester, don't add on calculus because that's a LOT of math combined with each other. Add on a biology elective so you have some variety; this may also help you seem like you're taking a variety of different classes in one semester. Also, when you're studying, it won't seem like you're only studying math for hours on end.

I think only taking one pre-requisite science class per semester is not absolutely terrible or anything close to the worse thing you can do. At minimum, you're just being safe; this is fine, but I think sitting down with a pre-med advisor and planning a nice degree plan for each semester might also help you. You really want to be well balanced in each semester without over-loading yourself, and a second opinion always helps.


Needs more coffee
Dec 28, 2013
An ideal schedule depends on you. I've heard rumors that med-schools prefer to see an applicant who challenged themselves (ie 15 or so credits per semester). However, doing well is the most important thing. I know people who can schedule 15 credits of science and still do well, and I know people who can barely survive 2.