As an international student, after you come to US for MS, you would be registering for classes. Some of the students would be planning to graduate early; they might plan on taking 4 classes or 12 credits every semester and get it done in one year or may be 3 semesters. Let me share some thoughts on why Not to take more than 9 credits or 3 classes in first semester.
5 Reasons on Why NOT to take full load like 12 credits or 4 classes.
Typically, international students are supposed to enroll full time to be in legal status in US. Full time enrollment depends on the school. Typically it is 3 classes or 9 credits. Some schools have 6 credits as full time..so it depends. Either case, it seems very tempting to take 4 classes and get it done quickly, because most of us back in our home country would have taken more four classes and have done fine. Here are the reasons:
- New Education System: Education system in America is different from your home country system. You have to very careful, it takes a semester to understand how stuff works in US schools, if you take too many classes, you might get screwed in some classes. Read Education system in US vs India
- Graduate level Classes: In MS or MBA, you are taking 700 level classes(read Course numbering MS in US 100 – 900 level). Graduate level classes require you to do more work. There may be many group projects, Homework, exams, etc. It is lot more work than you think…
- Away from Home and friends: Some of you may have hard time adjusting to the new life as you are away from Home and friends. You may be nostalgic. If you have too much stuff to do, you might get stressed and may not be able to perform well.
- Student Organizations: There are so many things to do when you are in School in US. Usually in first semester you may join student orgs and other socializing stuff and you need to put some time into it. Read: 8 Reasons to join Student Org
- Cooking, Apartment, Personal Stuff: Some of you may live in dorms, some of you may live with friends. There is so much stuff that’s going on with your life. If you have never cooked, you may be learning that, managing your finances, dealing with apartment stuff….so, all these needs some time to adjust and you need a semester to get hold of all these
I think these are some very common reasons. Overall, after first semester, you will know how the system works and you will have adjusted with culture, work load, etc and be prepared for taking more classes. If you plan to graduate soon, you can offset the first semester less load by taking an Interim class (between Fall and spring or spring and summer ). The point is, do not get over excited and take more classes in first semester… know the rules and system before you do anything. Remember, if you screw up and get a bad grade, it stays on your transcript for you life !
Any experiences to share of taking overload ?
Image credit : http://www.businessweek.com/careers/managementiq/archives/info%20overload%20pic.jpg