How Are College Classes Structured?

Traditional college courses, online classes, community college hours … how are they formatted?

Anyone going from high school to college will notice many differences between high school and college class structure. Depending on the type of college you choose, you will find high school and college classes structured quite differently.

While high school classes are typically taken back-to-back, generally every weekday, college schedules give you some freedom with your coursework. Online college courses offer even more scheduling freedom, while community college scheduling can vary greatly from school to school.

While the freedom of college class structure can seem to be greater than the back-to-back classes of high school, college classes still require more wor

College Hours vs. High School

In high school, you are required to be in school a set number of hours a day for a set number of days per year. In college, you can choose your hours, depending on whether you want to be considered a full-time or a part-time student.

Most colleges structure college courses according to credit hours, with one hour being equivalent to one credit earned toward your college degree. Community colleges generally structure their college courses in this manner.

Traditional College Courses

Traditionally each college course will take up three to four hours in class a week. The classes might be divided into one-hour sessions or might have one longer class session, with a break.

Different classes have different structures. Classes that include reading may or might allot time for the reading to be done. Science classes, and other classes with a lab component, may have a different day for the lab part of the class than for lecture hours. Labs might take place at a different time rather than right after class. Classes with discussions might have the discussion time separately from the scheduled class time, or the class may be entirely taken up by discussion.

Traditional colleges often offer a different number of credits than community colleges do. While community colleges often equate a credit with an hour of class time, traditional colleges often offer more credits for the same amount of class time. While usually a good thing, this can cause for some confusing when students attempt to transfer from a community college to a four-year institution.

Online College Courses

Getting a college education by taking online courses will feature a different structure from community college courses and traditional courses.

Online college classes offer the opportunity to access lecture materials, reading materials and other information at any time, rather than at a scheduled day and time. Assignments and other important info, such as due dates or announcements, are often posted via an online management system.

Interaction with professors and other students takes place virtually.

A Final Word on College Class Structure

While the freedom of college class structure can seem to be greater than the back-to-back classes of high school, college classes still require more work. Classes are more rigorous, and more time studying is usually required. Prepare now and save yourself some hassle later.

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