View Full Version : Taking Fewer Units


Tetrahedra
06-27-16, 12:18 PM
So I learned recently that college students with ADHD are recommended to take fewer units than other students. I guess I can understand this recommendation based on individual students since some have different strengths and weaknesses, but this is a recommendation for ALL people with ADHD (and other learning challenges). I'm not sure what to believe. On one hand, it would be so nice to have fewer units and be able to focus on them and get awesome grades. But on the other hand, I'd feel weak because I got decent grades taking full units. So would it be acceptable to take advantage of an option I don't really NEED?

namazu
06-27-16, 12:50 PM
If you're doing great as it is, and you're able to maintain those grades without sacrificing your health, then it's probably not really necessary for you.

If the focus on your schoolwork is coming at the cost of your health or of having a life outside of classes and homework (and I don't mean the Animal House kind!), then it's worth looking into.

Remember also that if you need to take a reduced course load during a particularly challenging semester, that doesn't obligate you to do it every semester. If you run into a really heavy reading or work load, don't hesitate to do it if you need the time to keep up and keep yourself organized. (On the flip side -- sometimes downtime can work against us, if we don't know what to do with it and if it makes deadlines feel less pressing!)

But don't shy away from it if you would benefit from it just because you think it makes you "weak". You'll feel weaker if you burn yourself out or end up doing poorly in classes because you took on too much in an effort to prove your toughness. Making prudent use of accommodations that are available to help you, if you need them, and not running yourself into the ground, are signs of good judgment and maturity. Know yourself, and then do what is best for you.

I took a reduced course load throughout most of college (made up for it in summers, usually doing fieldwork of some kind), and it -- along with other accommodations, and a hiatus in the middle -- made it possible for me to succeed.

Be aware that if you're receiving financial aid, it can be affected by a reduced course-load (depending on # of credits you're taking). If you are getting financial aid, check with the financial aid office and/or disability office to see if they can help you wrangle that issue. Since you'll still need the same amount of credits to graduate, be aware that you'll pay tuition longer if you enroll for extra semesters, too. Some schools may have funds that can help offset these extra expenses if they're due to disability-related reasons, but most of the time, they don't cut you a break. I would suggest not letting this deter you if the reduced course load is something you need -- as I said, for me it was part of what allowed me to make it to graduation in one piece -- but it's something to keep in mind as well.

Chicky75
06-27-16, 01:05 PM
There's no one right way to do college. Graduating in 4 years isn't nearly as important as learning what you need to to be successful in whatever you choose to do with your life. I wish someone had given me the option to take fewer than 4 courses per semester when I was in college - it might not have been such a disaster for me. Despite what my family told me, just getting the diploma isn't the only important thing - GPA matters, especially now that more and more jobs are requiring masters degrees to go beyond entry level.

Taking fewer classes per semester doesn't make you weak. If that's what you need to do to do well, then I think it shows strength - you know what works for you and what is important to you and are doing what you need, not what anyone else tells you you should be doing.

That being said, everyone is different. As Namazu said, if you're doing well now and don't think you need to take fewer classes, there's no reason to force yourself to take fewer. I have a friend who also has ADHD and took 5 classes per semester all through college. She said that it worked with her ADHD because when she got bored or distracted with one subject, she could always switch to another. I never would have gotten anything done with that system, but it worked for her.

Tetrahedra
06-28-16, 02:41 AM
Thanks for your replies, both of you. :yes:


If the focus on your schoolwork is coming at the cost of your health or of having a life outside of classes and homework (and I don't mean the Animal House kind!), then it's worth looking into.

Thank you in particular for this. We as a society don't put enough emphasis on how important social aspects of our lives are. Interactions between our families and friends, time to do hobbies and read a book--that stuff is important to our development as well. All of that tends to be brushed aside because WORK and MONEY are more important. So it was good to hear someone say that because sometimes I forget.

julialouise
06-29-16, 07:17 PM
My school runs on a trimester system and we have 3 classes each term. Having just the 3 classes, and only having 1-2 classes each day is just the right amount for me, but in order to still feel productive, I need to work a campus job and also create a weekly schedule that includes workout and study times. I can usually adhere to those schedules for a couple weeks, until I get whacked with an illness or something and I totally lose sense of a schedule.

Last spring, I dropped out of a math course, had one Psych class, and clarinet lessons (a half credit). So really, I really felt like I was taking just one class. However, I no longer felt any need to go to the non-mandatory lecture. So, limiting the number of courses might be a really good idea, but keep a somewhat rigorous schedule so you don't give yourself too much slack.

sarahsweets
06-30-16, 02:23 AM
When I was in college a basic fulltime student was a minimum of 12 credits (4 classes) but most normies took 15 or more. I barely made it with those 12 and had to re-take some classes. I got married and had a baby so over all it took me 5.5 years to finish.I think its madness to always push and push to get into the 'it' school, and then push and push to ace all the right classes, overloading ourselves. And then the push to graduate early or in the 4 years.
Do employers want good test takers and crammers or solid educated workers?
Im not sure.

Chicky75
06-30-16, 06:56 AM
Do employers want good test takers and crammers or solid educated workers?
Im not sure.

Some want the good test takers, but who wants to work for them?

anonymouslyadd
06-30-16, 12:13 PM
After I started back up with school, I took a four credit bio course in the summer and then nine credits that fall. I took nine more credits in the spring. I also worked full-time.

I never should have taken that many courses. Even though I earned all A's, it was too much. I rushed it, because I was frustrated with not having a degree and felt like my life was going nowhere. I probably should have limited myself to six credit hours.

anonymouslyadd
06-30-16, 12:19 PM
If you're doing great as it is, and you're able to maintain those grades without sacrificing your health, then it's probably not really necessary for you.

If the focus on your schoolwork is coming at the cost of your health or of having a life outside of classes and homework (and I don't mean the Animal House kind!), then it's worth looking into.
I think this is the key. When I was working full-time and taking nine credit hours, that's when I began to experience anxiety like I had never experienced it before. I didn't know how important it was to keep it under control back then so I suffered.

Your health needs to come first above anything else. When you're confident that you're able to take adequate care of yourself, then you can add things to your daily schedule.

Hiddencreations
06-30-16, 06:35 PM
I'm at the opposite end, where I basically loaded up on credits. Normally, I would do 15-18.5 credits and I graduated a semester early. I'm not a highly social person, so my weekends would be used for studying. While my weekdays were used for tutoring other students and free time. I majored in my special interest, so it was rather easy to hyper focus on the weekend and give my mind a 5-day break. I did well in undergrad, but there was a semester or two at the beginning of college where I needed to drop a class either because of understanding of material or just the volume of work needed.

I'm in grad school now and this past year (first year of grad) I took 39 credits between 2 semesters. Stressful yes, but I'm used to it.

Now, I also had accommodations which made organization and test taking more manageable. Without the test taking accommodations I was receiving Cs and Ds on test, after it is generally As.

I would say take as many credits as you feel you can handle. Remember if it is too much, withdrawal or drop a class. It's always good to read over your syllabus as soon as it is released and ask yourself: Is this too much?

I personally need a full credit schedule, it fills up the space of an absence social life and I like to keep busy.

spunky84
07-02-16, 06:05 PM
I think it's a very individual thing.

The semester I'm in right now is the only one I've been medicated for, but I don't think I could do fewer classes. I really didn't think I'd be able to get through the semester I'm in now (13 credit hours in 10 weeks -- 3 classes in 10, 1 in 6). I was pretty sure I'd fail out. While it's very overwhelming and stressful, I feel like I thrive under pressure (for the most part). I don't have a choice but to take the classes that I am without essentially withdrawing from the program. I can take the non-nursing classes and drop the nursing classes and then do nursing classes only after I finish those, but I'm not in a position that I can do that.

There's nothing wrong with doing what you think is best for you. Even if you don't technically "need" to, there's nothing wrong with you deciding to. If you think it'd be better for you, go for it.