College freshmen who take fewer than 15 credits per semester are less likely to graduate on time

Freshman 15

Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2017 @ 4:30 PM

The “Freshman 15” is typically a warning to incoming college students about weight gain, yet the term could also serve as an aspiration — at least when it comes to course load. College students who take fewer than 15 credits per semester during their freshman year are less likely to graduate within four years (i.e., on time), according to a new analysis from college consulting firm EAB. Its data shows 44 percent percent of incoming college students register for 12 to 14 credits.

THINK 30: University of Central Florida launched its “Think 30” campaign in 2015, touting the time and cost benefits of completing 30 course hours per year, and offering resources to help map out a path to graduation. “We try to create a mindset that graduation starts Day One,” said Delaine Priest, associate vice president for student development and enrollment services at UCF. It’s too early to say how the program will influence on-time graduation rates. But in the 2015-2016 academic year, 64 percent of the college’s full-time freshmen took 30 credits, up from 60 percent who did so a year earlier. The “Think 30” cohort also had an average GPA of 3.2, versus 2.6 for those who took 24 or fewer credits.

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