New option offers fast track to graduation

Bethany English

Jessica Stuck, senior history and architecture major, plans to graduate in four years. Stuck is taking 20 credit hours this semester.

?Last semester, in addition to being a resident advisor and honors student, Stuck took 20 credit hours. During the 2009 summer semester, she overloaded with 13 credit hours, one hour over the maximum 12 allowed.

?Any less than her typical overload, and Stuck said she wouldn’t be busy enough. ?“My first semester, I took 16 or 17 credit hours, and I was pretty bored,” Stuck said.?Though she only needed to meet with an advisor during the spring semester to request an overload of hours, Stuck had to get paperwork signed off before she could enroll for an extra hour over the summer.

?But that policy has changed this semester. Students can now automatically register for an overload of credit hours, any amount over 18 hours, if their GPAs are at least 2.5. As the GPA increases, the number of additional credit hours available also rises.

?Provost Robert Frank said the grade point average is used as a “reasonable predictor” of whether a student can manage additional hours.


“If they have a solid GPA, then the chances are that they are going to succeed at handling that higher level of course hours,” Frank said.

?The highest amount is 21 credit hours for students with a 3.0 or higher.

?Frank said the university has been working for the past three years to reduce the obstacles for students pursuing their degrees, and this automatic overload option is one way to do that.

?Architecture advisor Ben Stenson said he thinks it’s a great idea because it will eliminate the hassle that was previously involved with requesting permission for overload. ?“If anything, it will reduce stress at registration time,” Stenson said.?

Allowing students to increase their credit hours without seeing an advisor for special approval will prevent them from being shut out of classes they wanted. While they wait for approval, those classes could fill up and be closed off.

?Stuck said she feels stressed at times, but she thinks she would feel just as stressed with 18 hours instead of 20. Some nights, she said she only sleeps four hours before heading off to her architecture studio class at 7:45 a.m.?“I feel tired, but I’m still there getting my work done,” Stuck said.

?Marisa DiBucci, sophomore fashion design major, is another student taking over the maximum number of credits. She is currently taking 19 hours.

?“If you know you can handle it, I don’t see why you have to get the approval of the office to take it,” she said of the old policy.

?DiBucci is earning a double minor in entrepreneurship and marketing and plans to finish her degree in four years. ?“I do get stressed, but I understand that it’s college,” DiBucci said. “It’s what you get for taking so many (hours).”

?DiBucci said she makes sure to work out, something she does to distress, and she uses her Fridays to catch up on any work she needs to get done.

?Stenson added that this is just another option for students, and they should meet with their advisors to determine what is best for them.

?“Students are adults, and we have to let them make decisions about what’s best for them,” Frank said.

Contact Bethany English at [email protected].