Parent FAQ

What is 15 to Finish at Syracuse University?

Nationwide, there is a growing trend of new college students registering and completing 12-14 credit hours per semester, less than the minimum of 15 credits per semester needed to graduate within four years. Syracuse University’s 15 to Finish campaign encourages students—especially in the early years of their college experience—to register for at least 15 credits per semester.

Most four-year degree programs average of between 120 and 128 credit hours. If your student completes less than 15 credits per semester, chances are good that it will take longer than four years for them to complete their degree.

Isn’t 12 credit hours considered full time?

Twelve credit hours per semester is the minimum amount of credits needed to be considered a full-time student. But since most degree programs are built on a minimum of 15 credit hours, taking 12 credits at a time will likely put your student behind schedule.

Registering for 15 credits can also give your student a safety net if they absolutely needed to drop a class. If your student was only registered for 12 credits, withdrawing from a course would change their status to part-time (9 credit hours or less).  This could impact your student’s financial aid, housing and other aspects of their college experience.

What are the benefits to registering and completing 15 credit hours per semester?

There are certainly financial advantages. The longer it takes your student to complete their degree, the more expensive that degree can become. Your student could end up paying more in tuition and fees.

Beyond the cost savings, managing 15 or more credits per semester helps students hone their time management skills and remain focused. Carrying a full course load teaches skills that will serve your student after their academic career is over, such as prioritization, goal setting and persistence.

Why not build up to 15 credits and begin slowly in the first and second year?

A strong start often means a strong finish. Syracuse University data tells us that students who earn at least 30 Syracuse credits in their first year and those who earn 60 Syracuse credits by the end of their second year are much more likely to graduate in four years than students who do not stay on track.

Taking at least 15 credits in their early semesters can give your student more flexibility to take electives, study abroad, or pursue internships and career opportunities in their junior and senior years.

Is 15 credits too many for someone transitioning into college life?

Most students find a full course load is very manageable. A 15-credit semester requires in-class time of approximately 13 – 14 hours per week.  Add in six hours of outside class studying for each course results in an additional 30 hours, totaling around 43-44 hours per week. This leaves plenty of time for outside activities and relaxation.

How can I be a supportive parent or family member?

Encourage your student to register for a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester. Syracuse University has a multitude of support services and resources that can help your student achieve their goals on their way to successfully completing their degree. They can visit our resource page for more information.