College Units and Time Management
College Units:
A unit is a value that indicates
the amount of college credit given to a course. In general, one hour of lecture
a week equals one unit of credit.
What Makes a FullTime
Student?
There is a range for the amount of
units considered to be a fulltime student. For many students on their parent's
insurance, tax or other purposes, 12 units is usually considered
fulltime.
However, a new student working
towards a twoyear or Career Associate degree (90 units required) would need to
complete 15 units a quarter for six quarters (3 quarters to an academic year).
The same is true for a student planning to transfer on a twoyear track to a CSU
or UC in which 90 transferable units are required. Furthermore, for a student to
accomplish this transfer track, the student would have to place in college level
English and math. Keep in mind that it is possible to complete less than 15
units a quarter if the student is willing to make up the units during the summer
quarter.
Deciding How Many Units to
Take:
Rather than focus on how many units
you should take to stay on a twoyear track, you should focus on how many units
to take a quarter to earn the GPA you aspire to attain. Therefore, in order to
determine how many units to take you need to consider your lifestyle factors
such as:
 If you work, how many hours a week
do your work?
 How much time do you need to
devote to your other responsibilities like family and relationships?
 How much time do you need for
personal needs such as sleeping, eating, and traveling to and from
school?
 How much time do you need for
housekeeping chores, socializing, recreation and other interests?
Sit down and create a daily
schedule to see how much time you have left for school. Once you have an idea
how many hours a week you can realistically devote to school, figure out how
many units you should take. The following is a recommended formula to determine
the total time required for success in a class:
Formula = 2 hours of study time for each unit taken
This is just an approximation but a
good reference point to start with. Your level of study skills, choice of
classes and instructors will all be factors in how much time outside of class
you will need.
Example 1: For a 4unit
class you could expect the following:
Inclass time 
= 
4 hrs per week (1 hr.
for each unit) 
Homework 
= 
+8 hrs per week (2
hrs. for each unit) 
Total time 
= 
12 hrs. per week for one
4unit class 
Example 2: A student
enrolled in 12 units in a quarter would need to budget 36 hours per week for
school work. This includes 12 hours in class and 24 hours of study time. A
student enrolled in 15 units would need to budget 45 hours a week for school
work.
Managing Work
and School:
The following are recommended
combinations:
 If you work 15 hours/week, then
consider enrolling in no more than 12  15 units.
 If you work 25 hours/week, then
consider enrolling in no more than 9  12 units.
 If you work 40 hours/week, then
consider enrolling in no more than 4  8 units.
