How to Learn

How Much Time Do College Students Spend on Homework

by Jack Tai | Oct 9, 2019 | Articles

Does college life involve more studying or socializing?

Find out how much time college students need to devote to their homework in order to succeed in class.

We all know that it takes hard work to succeed in college and earn top grades.

To find out more about the time demands of studying and learning, let’s review the average homework amounts of college students.

HowtoLearn.com expert, Jack Tai, CEO of OneClass.com shows how homework improves grades in college and an average of how much time is required.

How Many Hours Do College Students Spend on Homework?

Classes in college are much different from those in high school.

For students in high school, a large part of learning occurs in the classroom with homework used to support class activities.

One of the first thing that college students need to learn is how to read and remember more quickly. It gives them a competitive benefit in their grades and when they learn new information to escalate their career.

Taking a speed reading course that shows you how to learn at the same time is one of the best ways for students to complete their reading assignments and their homework.

different reading techniques

However, in college, students spend a shorter period in class and spend more time learning outside of the classroom.

This shift to an independent learning structure means that college students should expect to spend more time on homework than they did during high school.

In college, a good rule of thumb for homework estimates that for each college credit you take, you’ll spend one hour in the classroom and two to three hours on homework each week.

These homework tasks can include readings, working on assignments, or studying for exams.

Based upon these estimates, a three-credit college class would require each week to include approximately three hours attending lectures and six to nine hours of homework.

Extrapolating this out to the 15-credit course load of a full-time student, that would be 15 hours in the classroom and 30 to 45 hours studying and doing homework.

These time estimates demonstrate that college students have significantly more homework than the 10 hours per week average among high school students. In fact, doing homework in college can take as much time as a full-time job.

Students should keep in mind that these homework amounts are averages.

Students will find that some professors assign more or less homework. Students may also find that some classes assign very little homework in the beginning of the semester, but increase later on in preparation for exams or when a major project is due. 

There can even be variation based upon the major with some areas of study requiring more lab work or reading.

Do College Students Do Homework on Weekends?

Based on the quantity of homework in college, it’s nearly certain that students will be spending some of their weekends doing homework.

For example, if each weekday, a student spends three hours in class and spends five hours on homework, there’s still at least five hours of homework to do on the weekend.

how much time do college students spend on homework

When considering how homework schedules can affect learning, it’s important to remember that even though college students face a significant amount of homework, one of the best learning strategies is to space out study sessions into short time blocks.

This includes not just doing homework every day of the week, but also establishing short study blocks in the morning, afternoon, and evening. With this approach, students can avoid cramming on Sunday night to be ready for class.

What’s the Best Way to Get Help with Your Homework?

In college, there are academic resources built into campus life to support learning.

For example, you may have access to an on-campus learning center or tutoring facilities. You may also have the support of teaching assistants or regular office hours.

That’s why OneClass recommends a course like How to Read a Book in a Day and Remember It which gives a c hoice to support your learning. 

Another choice is on demand tutoring.

They send detailed, step-by-step solutions within just 24 hours, and frequently, answers are sent in less than 12 hours.

When students have on-demand access to homework help, it’s possible to avoid the poor grades that can result from unfinished homework.

Plus, 24/7 Homework Help makes it easy to ask a question. Simply snap a photo and upload it to the platform.

That’s all tutors need to get started preparing your solution.

Rather than retyping questions or struggling with math formulas, asking questions and getting answers is as easy as click and go.

Homework Help supports coursework for both high school and college students across a wide range of subjects. Moreover, students can access OneClass’ knowledge base of previously answered homework questions.

Simply browse by subject or search the directory to find out if another student struggled to learn the same class material.

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11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data

homework pros and cons

The age-old question of whether homework is good or bad for students is unanswerable because there are so many “ it depends ” factors.

For example, it depends on the age of the child, the type of homework being assigned, and even the child’s needs.

There are also many conflicting reports on whether homework is good or bad. This is a topic that largely relies on data interpretation for the researcher to come to their conclusions.

To cut through some of the fog, below I’ve outlined some great homework statistics that can help us understand the effects of homework on children.

Homework Statistics List

1. 45% of parents think homework is too easy for their children.

A study by the Center for American Progress found that parents are almost twice as likely to believe their children’s homework is too easy than to disagree with that statement.

Here are the figures for math homework:

  • 46% of parents think their child’s math homework is too easy.
  • 25% of parents think their child’s math homework is not too easy.
  • 29% of parents offered no opinion.

Here are the figures for language arts homework:

  • 44% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is too easy.
  • 28% of parents think their child’s language arts homework is not too easy.
  • 28% of parents offered no opinion.

These findings are based on online surveys of 372 parents of school-aged children conducted in 2018.

2. 93% of Fourth Grade Children Worldwide are Assigned Homework

The prestigious worldwide math assessment Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) took a survey of worldwide homework trends in 2007. Their study concluded that 93% of fourth-grade children are regularly assigned homework, while just 7% never or rarely have homework assigned.

3. 17% of Teens Regularly Miss Homework due to Lack of High-Speed Internet Access

A 2018 Pew Research poll of 743 US teens found that 17%, or almost 2 in every 5 students, regularly struggled to complete homework because they didn’t have reliable access to the internet.

This figure rose to 25% of Black American teens and 24% of teens whose families have an income of less than $30,000 per year.

4. Parents Spend 6.7 Hours Per Week on their Children’s Homework

A 2018 study of 27,500 parents around the world found that the average amount of time parents spend on homework with their child is 6.7 hours per week. Furthermore, 25% of parents spend more than 7 hours per week on their child’s homework.

American parents spend slightly below average at 6.2 hours per week, while Indian parents spend 12 hours per week and Japanese parents spend 2.6 hours per week.

5. Students in High-Performing High Schools Spend on Average 3.1 Hours per night Doing Homework

A study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) conducted a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California. 

Across these high-performing schools, students self-reported that they did 3.1 hours per night of homework.

Graduates from those schools also ended up going on to college 93% of the time.

6. One to Two Hours is the Optimal Duration for Homework

A 2012 peer-reviewed study in the High School Journal found that students who conducted between one and two hours achieved higher results in tests than any other group.

However, the authors were quick to highlight that this “t is an oversimplification of a much more complex problem.” I’m inclined to agree. The greater variable is likely the quality of the homework than time spent on it.

Nevertheless, one result was unequivocal: that some homework is better than none at all : “students who complete any amount of homework earn higher test scores than their peers who do not complete homework.”

7. 74% of Teens cite Homework as a Source of Stress

A study by the Better Sleep Council found that homework is a source of stress for 74% of students. Only school grades, at 75%, rated higher in the study.

That figure rises for girls, with 80% of girls citing homework as a source of stress.

Similarly, the study by Galloway, Conner & Pope (2013) found that 56% of students cite homework as a “primary stressor” in their lives.

8. US Teens Spend more than 15 Hours per Week on Homework

The same study by the Better Sleep Council also found that US teens spend over 2 hours per school night on homework, and overall this added up to over 15 hours per week.

Surprisingly, 4% of US teens say they do more than 6 hours of homework per night. That’s almost as much homework as there are hours in the school day.

The only activity that teens self-reported as doing more than homework was engaging in electronics, which included using phones, playing video games, and watching TV.

9. The 10-Minute Rule

The National Education Association (USA) endorses the concept of doing 10 minutes of homework per night per grade.

For example, if you are in 3rd grade, you should do 30 minutes of homework per night. If you are in 4th grade, you should do 40 minutes of homework per night.

However, this ‘rule’ appears not to be based in sound research. Nevertheless, it is true that homework benefits (no matter the quality of the homework) will likely wane after 2 hours (120 minutes) per night, which would be the NEA guidelines’ peak in grade 12.

10. 21.9% of Parents are Too Busy for their Children’s Homework

An online poll of nearly 300 parents found that 21.9% are too busy to review their children’s homework. On top of this, 31.6% of parents do not look at their children’s homework because their children do not want their help. For these parents, their children’s unwillingness to accept their support is a key source of frustration.

11. 46.5% of Parents find Homework too Hard

The same online poll of parents of children from grades 1 to 12 also found that many parents struggle to help their children with homework because parents find it confusing themselves. Unfortunately, the study did not ask the age of the students so more data is required here to get a full picture of the issue.

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Interpreting the Data

Unfortunately, homework is one of those topics that can be interpreted by different people pursuing differing agendas. All studies of homework have a wide range of variables, such as:

  • What age were the children in the study?
  • What was the homework they were assigned?
  • What tools were available to them?
  • What were the cultural attitudes to homework and how did they impact the study?
  • Is the study replicable?

The more questions we ask about the data, the more we realize that it’s hard to come to firm conclusions about the pros and cons of homework .

Furthermore, questions about the opportunity cost of homework remain. Even if homework is good for children’s test scores, is it worthwhile if the children consequently do less exercise or experience more stress?

Thus, this ends up becoming a largely qualitative exercise. If parents and teachers zoom in on an individual child’s needs, they’ll be able to more effectively understand how much homework a child needs as well as the type of homework they should be assigned.

Related: Funny Homework Excuses

The debate over whether homework should be banned will not be resolved with these homework statistics. But, these facts and figures can help you to pursue a position in a school debate on the topic – and with that, I hope your debate goes well and you develop some great debating skills!

Chris

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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how many hours of homework do college students get

Students spend three times longer on homework than average, survey reveals

Sonya Kulkarni and Pallavi Gorantla | Jan 9, 2022

The+National+Education+Association+and+the+National+Parent+Teacher+Association+have+suggested+that+a+healthy+number+of+hours+that+students+should+be+spending+can+be+determined+by+the+10-minute+rule.+This+means+that+each+grade+level+should+have+a+maximum+homework+time+incrementing+by+10+minutes+depending+on+their+grade+level+%28for+instance%2C+ninth-graders+would+have+90+minutes+of+homework%2C+10th-graders+should+have+100+minutes%2C+and+so+on%29.

Graphic by Sonya Kulkarni

The National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association have suggested that a healthy number of hours that students should be spending can be determined by the “10-minute rule.” This means that each grade level should have a maximum homework time incrementing by 10 minutes depending on their grade level (for instance, ninth-graders would have 90 minutes of homework, 10th-graders should have 100 minutes, and so on).

As ‘finals week’ rapidly approaches, students not only devote effort to attaining their desired exam scores but make a last attempt to keep or change the grade they have for semester one by making up homework assignments.

High schoolers reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight, according to a study by the Washington Post from 2018 to 2020 of over 50,000 individuals. A survey of approximately 200 Bellaire High School students revealed that some students spend over three times this number.

The demographics of this survey included 34 freshmen, 43 sophomores, 54 juniors and 54 seniors on average.

When asked how many hours students spent on homework in a day on average, answers ranged from zero to more than nine with an average of about four hours. In contrast, polled students said that about one hour of homework would constitute a healthy number of hours.

Junior Claire Zhang said she feels academically pressured in her AP schedule, but not necessarily by the classes.

“The class environment in AP classes can feel pressuring because everyone is always working hard and it makes it difficult to keep up sometimes.” Zhang said.

A total of 93 students reported that the minimum grade they would be satisfied with receiving in a class would be an A. This was followed by 81 students, who responded that a B would be the minimum acceptable grade. 19 students responded with a C and four responded with a D.

“I am happy with the classes I take, but sometimes it can be very stressful to try to keep up,” freshman Allyson Nguyen said. “I feel academically pressured to keep an A in my classes.”

Up to 152 students said that grades are extremely important to them, while 32 said they generally are more apathetic about their academic performance.

Last year, nine valedictorians graduated from Bellaire. They each achieved a grade point average of 5.0. HISD has never seen this amount of valedictorians in one school, and as of now there are 14 valedictorians.

“I feel that it does degrade the title of valedictorian because as long as a student knows how to plan their schedule accordingly and make good grades in the classes, then anyone can be valedictorian,” Zhang said.

Bellaire offers classes like physical education and health in the summer. These summer classes allow students to skip the 4.0 class and not put it on their transcript. Some electives also have a 5.0 grade point average like debate.

Close to 200 students were polled about Bellaire having multiple valedictorians. They primarily answered that they were in favor of Bellaire having multiple valedictorians, which has recently attracted significant acclaim .

Senior Katherine Chen is one of the 14 valedictorians graduating this year and said that she views the class of 2022 as having an extraordinary amount of extremely hardworking individuals.

“I think it was expected since freshman year since most of us knew about the others and were just focused on doing our personal best,” Chen said.

Chen said that each valedictorian achieved the honor on their own and deserves it.

“I’m honestly very happy for the other valedictorians and happy that Bellaire is such a good school,” Chen said. “I don’t feel any less special with 13 other valedictorians.”

Nguyen said that having multiple valedictorians shows just how competitive the school is.

“It’s impressive, yet scary to think about competing against my classmates,” Nguyen said.

Offering 30 AP classes and boasting a significant number of merit-based scholars Bellaire can be considered a competitive school.

“I feel academically challenged but not pressured,” Chen said. “Every class I take helps push me beyond my comfort zone but is not too much to handle.”

Students have the opportunity to have off-periods if they’ve met all their credits and are able to maintain a high level of academic performance. But for freshmen like Nguyen, off periods are considered a privilege. Nguyen said she usually has an hour to five hours worth of work everyday.

“Depending on the day, there can be a lot of work, especially with extra curriculars,” Nguyen said. “Although, I am a freshman, so I feel like it’s not as bad in comparison to higher grades.”

According to the survey of Bellaire students, when asked to evaluate their agreement with the statement “students who get better grades tend to be smarter overall than students who get worse grades,” responders largely disagreed.

Zhang said that for students on the cusp of applying to college, it can sometimes be hard to ignore the mental pressure to attain good grades.

“As a junior, it’s really easy to get extremely anxious about your GPA,” Zhang said. “It’s also a very common but toxic practice to determine your self-worth through your grades but I think that we just need to remember that our mental health should also come first. Sometimes, it’s just not the right day for everyone and one test doesn’t determine our smartness.”

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how many hours of homework do college students get

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Bossa nova, bebop and burgers

The next solar eclipse visible in the US will occur in 2033 in Alaska. At least I’ll be alive in 40 years to see the next [eclipse],” junior Eric Stevenson said.

Students, faculty view solar eclipse in cloudy weather

The majority of Bellaire faculty and the Shared Decision-Making Committee voted for an eight-period schedule for the 2024-25 school year. In addition to eight periods a day, the new schedule also includes the dismissal time moving to 4 p.m., the discontinuation of zero periods and more elective options for students.

Eight a day

Congress and public forum students, including sophomore Catherine Xue, Samantha Tran, and junior Emerald Tang (left to right, second, sixth, ninth respectively) commemorate their time at TFA State 2024 with a photo booth. For Tang, this is her last tournament, but Xue and Tran look forward to competing at state next year.

‘Upping our game’

Andy Shen inside the Orion Capsule in the Apollo Exhibit inside Space Center Houston.

Humans of Bellaire

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Andy Shen

Mackin (right) stands with older sisters Caroline and Celeste Mackin after her first marathon, the Sun Marathon. To commemorate the marathon, Mackin and her family went to get burgers, then grabbed Oreos and chocolate milk at the grocery store.

‘Running since day one’

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Finding sparks in concerts

Provided by Zachary Foust

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Zachary Foust

Junior Veda Manikonda poses with a super heavy lehenga. Heavier lehengas are usually worn for formal events, such as weddings. (Photo provided by VEDA MANIKONDA).

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Veda Manikonda

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Anonymous • Nov 21, 2023 at 10:32 am

It’s not really helping me understand how much.

josh • May 9, 2023 at 9:58 am

Kassie • May 6, 2022 at 12:29 pm

Im using this for an English report. This is great because on of my sources needed to be from another student. Homework drives me insane. Im glad this is very updated too!!

Kaylee Swaim • Jan 25, 2023 at 9:21 pm

I am also using this for an English report. I have to do an argumentative essay about banning homework in schools and this helps sooo much!

Izzy McAvaney • Mar 15, 2023 at 6:43 pm

I am ALSO using this for an English report on cutting down school days, homework drives me insane!!

E. Elliott • Apr 25, 2022 at 6:42 pm

I’m from Louisiana and am actually using this for an English Essay thanks for the information it was very informative.

Nabila Wilson • Jan 10, 2022 at 6:56 pm

Interesting with the polls! I didn’t realize about 14 valedictorians, that’s crazy.

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More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research suggests.

Education scholar Denise Pope has found that too much homework has negative impacts on student well-being and behavioral engagement (Shutterstock)

A Stanford education researcher found that too much homework can negatively affect kids, especially their lives away from school, where family, friends and activities matter.   "Our findings on the effects of homework challenge the traditional assumption that homework is inherently good," wrote Denise Pope , a senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and a co-author of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Education .   The researchers used survey data to examine perceptions about homework, student well-being and behavioral engagement in a sample of 4,317 students from 10 high-performing high schools in upper-middle-class California communities. Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students' views on homework.   Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year.   Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.   "The findings address how current homework practices in privileged, high-performing schools sustain students' advantage in competitive climates yet hinder learning, full engagement and well-being," Pope wrote.   Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive. They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.   Their study found that too much homework is associated with:   • Greater stress : 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress, according to the survey data. Forty-three percent viewed tests as a primary stressor, while 33 percent put the pressure to get good grades in that category. Less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.   • Reductions in health : In their open-ended answers, many students said their homework load led to sleep deprivation and other health problems. The researchers asked students whether they experienced health issues such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss and stomach problems.   • Less time for friends, family and extracurricular pursuits : Both the survey data and student responses indicate that spending too much time on homework meant that students were "not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills," according to the researchers. Students were more likely to drop activities, not see friends or family, and not pursue hobbies they enjoy.   A balancing act   The results offer empirical evidence that many students struggle to find balance between homework, extracurricular activities and social time, the researchers said. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.   Also, there was no relationship between the time spent on homework and how much the student enjoyed it. The research quoted students as saying they often do homework they see as "pointless" or "mindless" in order to keep their grades up.   "This kind of busy work, by its very nature, discourages learning and instead promotes doing homework simply to get points," said Pope, who is also a co-founder of Challenge Success , a nonprofit organization affiliated with the GSE that conducts research and works with schools and parents to improve students' educational experiences..   Pope said the research calls into question the value of assigning large amounts of homework in high-performing schools. Homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice, she said.   "Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development," wrote Pope.   High-performing paradox   In places where students attend high-performing schools, too much homework can reduce their time to foster skills in the area of personal responsibility, the researchers concluded. "Young people are spending more time alone," they wrote, "which means less time for family and fewer opportunities to engage in their communities."   Student perspectives   The researchers say that while their open-ended or "self-reporting" methodology to gauge student concerns about homework may have limitations – some might regard it as an opportunity for "typical adolescent complaining" – it was important to learn firsthand what the students believe.   The paper was co-authored by Mollie Galloway from Lewis and Clark College and Jerusha Conner from Villanova University.

Clifton B. Parker is a writer at the Stanford News Service .

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College Homework: What You Need to Know

  • April 1, 2020

Samantha "Sam" Sparks

  • Future of Education

Despite what Hollywood shows us, most of college life actually involves studying, burying yourself in mountains of books, writing mountains of reports, and, of course, doing a whole lot of homework.

Wait, homework? That’s right, homework doesn’t end just because high school did: part of parcel of any college course will be homework. So if you thought college is harder than high school , then you’re right, because in between hours and hours of lectures and term papers and exams, you’re still going to have to take home a lot of schoolwork to do in the comfort of your dorm.

College life is demanding, it’s difficult, but at the end of the day, it’s fulfilling. You might have had this idealized version of what your college life is going to be like, but we’re here to tell you: it’s not all parties and cardigans.

How Many Hours Does College Homework Require?

Stress from homework

Here’s the thing about college homework: it’s vastly different from the type of takehome school activities you might have had in high school.

See, high school students are given homework to augment what they’ve learned in the classroom. For high school students, a majority of their learning happens in school, with their teachers guiding them along the way.

In college, however, your professors will encourage you to learn on your own. Yes, you will be attending hours and hours of lectures and seminars, but most of your learning is going to take place in the library, with your professors taking a more backseat approach to your learning process. This independent learning structure teaches prospective students to hone their critical thinking skills, perfect their research abilities, and encourage them to come up with original thoughts and ideas.

Sure, your professors will still step in every now and then to help with anything you’re struggling with and to correct certain mistakes, but by and large, the learning process in college is entirely up to how you develop your skills.

This is the reason why college homework is voluminous: it’s designed to teach you how to basically learn on your own. While there is no set standard on how much time you should spend doing homework in college, a good rule-of-thumb practiced by model students is 3 hours a week per college credit . It doesn’t seem like a lot, until you factor in that the average college student takes on about 15 units per semester. With that in mind, it’s safe to assume that a single, 3-unit college class would usually require 9 hours of homework per week.

But don’t worry, college homework is also different from high school homework in how it’s structured. High school homework usually involves a take-home activity of some kind, where students answer certain questions posed to them. College homework, on the other hand, is more on reading texts that you’ll discuss in your next lecture, studying for exams, and, of course, take-home activities.

Take these averages with a grain of salt, however, as the average number of hours required to do college homework will also depend on your professor, the type of class you’re attending, what you’re majoring in, and whether or not you have other activities (like laboratory work or field work) that would compensate for homework.

Do Students Do College Homework On the Weekends?

Again, based on the average number we provided above, and again, depending on numerous other factors, it’s safe to say that, yes, you would have to complete a lot of college homework on the weekends.

Using the average given above, let’s say that a student does 9 hours of homework per week per class. A typical semester would involve 5 different classes (each with 3 units), which means that a student would be doing an average of 45 hours of homework per week. That would equal to around 6 hours of homework a day, including weekends.

That might seem overwhelming, but again: college homework is different from high school homework in that it doesn’t always involve take-home activities. In fact, most of your college homework (but again, depending on your professor, your major, and other mitigating factors) will probably involve doing readings and writing essays. Some types of college homework might not even feel like homework, as some professors encourage inter-personal learning by requiring their students to form groups and discuss certain topics instead of doing take-home activities or writing papers. Again, lab work and field work (depending on your major) might also make up for homework.

Laptop

Remember: this is all relative. Some people read fast and will find that 3 hours per unit per week is much too much time considering they can finish a reading in under an hour.The faster you learn how to read, the less amount of time you’ll need to devote to homework.

College homework is difficult, but it’s also manageable. This is why you see a lot of study groups in college, where your peers will establish a way for everyone to learn on a collective basis, as this would help lighten the mental load you might face during your college life. There are also different strategies you can develop to master your time management skills, all of which will help you become a more holistic person once you leave college.

So, yes, your weekends will probably be chock-full of schoolwork, but you’ll need to learn how to manage your time in such a way that you’ll be able to do your homework and socialize, but also have time to develop your other skills and/or talk to family and friends.

College Homework Isn’t All That Bad, Though

studying

Sure, you’ll probably have time for parties and joining a fraternity/sorority, even attend those mythical college keggers (something that the person who invented college probably didn’t have in mind). But I hate to break it to you: those are going to be few and far in between. But here’s a consolation, however: you’re going to be studying something you’re actually interested in.

All of those hours spent in the library, writing down papers, doing college homework? It’s going to feel like a minute because you’re doing something you actually love doing. And if you fear that you’ll be missing out, don’t worry: all those people that you think are attending those parties aren’t actually there because they, too, will be busy studying!

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Module 6: Learning Styles and Strategies

Class-time to study-time ratio, learning objectives.

  • Describe typical ratios of in-class to out-of-class work per credit hour and how to effectively schedule your study time

Class- and Study-Time Ratios

After Kai decides to talk to his guidance counselor about his stress and difficulty balancing his activities, his guidance counselor recommends that Kai create a schedule. This will help him set time for homework, studying, work, and leisure activities so that he avoids procrastinating on his schoolwork. His counselor explains that if Kai sets aside specific time to study every day—rather than simply studying when he feels like he has the time—his study habits will become more regular, which will improve Kai’s learning. 

At the end of their session, Kai and his counselor have put together a rough schedule for Kai to further refine as he goes through the next couple of weeks.

Although Kai knows that studying is important and he is trying to keep up with homework, he really needs to work on time management. This is challenging for many college students, especially ones with lots of responsibilities outside of school. Unlike high school classes, college classes meet less often, and college students are expected to do more independent learning, homework, and studying.

You might have heard that the ratio of classroom time to study time should be 1:2 or 1:3. This would mean that for every hour you spend in class, you should plan to spend two to three hours out of class working independently on course assignments. If your composition class meets for one hour, three times a week, you’d be expected to devote from six to nine hours each week on reading assignments, writing assignments, etc.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the 1:2 or 1:3 ratio is generally more appropriate for semester long courses of 18 weeks. More and more institutions of higher learning are moving away from semesters to terms ranging from 16 to 8 weeks long.

The recommended classroom time to study time ratio might change depending on the course (how rigorous it is and how many credits it’s worth), the institution’s expectations, the length of the school term, and the frequency with which a class meets. For example, if you’re used to taking classes on a quarter system of 10 weeks, but then you start taking courses over an 8 weeks period, you may need to spend more time studying outside of class since you’re trying to learn the same amount of information in a shorter term period. You may also find that if one of the courses you’re taking is worth 1.5 credit hours but the rest of your courses are worth 1 credit hour each, you may need to put in more study hours for your 1.5 credit hour course. Finally, if you’re taking a course that only meets once a week like a writing workshop, you may consider putting in more study and reading time in between class meetings than the general 1:2 or 1:3 ratio.

If you account for all the classes you’re taking in a given semester, the study time really adds up—and if it sounds like a lot of work, it is! Remember, this schedule is temporary while you’re in school. The only way to stay on top of the workload is by creating a schedule to help you manage your time. You might decide to use a weekly or monthly schedule—or both. Whatever you choose, the following tips can help you design a smart schedule that’s easy to follow and stick with.

Start with Fixed Time Commitments

First off, mark down the commitments that don’t allow any flexibility. These include class meetings, work hours, appointments, etc. Capturing the “fixed” parts of your schedule can help you see where there are blocks of time that can be used for other activities.

Kai’s Schedule

Kai is taking four classes: Spanish 101, US History, College Algebra, and Introduction to Psychology. He also has a fixed work schedule—he works 27 hours a week.

Consider Your Studying and Homework Habits

When are you most productive? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Block out your study times accordingly. You’ll also want to factor in any resources you might need. For instance, if you prefer to study very early or late in the day, and you’re working on a research paper, you might want to check the library hours to make sure it’s open when you need it.

Since Kai’s Spanish class starts his schedule at 9:00 every day, Kai decides to use that as the base for his schedule. He doesn’t usually have trouble waking up in the mornings (except for on the weekends), so he decides that he can do a bit of studying before class. His Spanish practice is often something he can do while eating or traveling, so this gives him a bit of leniency with his schedule.

Kai’s marked work in grey, classes in green, and dedicated study time in yellow:

Even if you prefer weekly over monthly schedules, write reminders for yourself and keep track of any upcoming projects, papers, or exams. You will also want to prepare for these assignments in advance. Most students eventually discover (the hard way) that cramming for exams the night before and waiting till the last minute to start on a term paper is a poor strategy. Procrastination creates a lot of unnecessary stress, and the resulting final product—whether an exam, lab report, or paper—is rarely your best work. Try simple things to break down large tasks, such as setting aside an hour or so each day to work on them during the weeks leading up to the deadline. If you get stuck, get help from your instructor early, rather than waiting until the day before an assignment is due.

Schedule Leisure Time

It might seem impossible to leave room in your schedule for fun activities, but every student needs and deserves to socialize and relax on a regular basis. Try to make this time something you look forward to and count on, and use it as a reward for getting things done. You might reserve every Friday or Saturday evening for going out with friends, for example. Perhaps your children have sporting events or special occasions you want to make time for. Try to reschedule your study time so you have enough time to study and enough time to do things outside of school that you want to do.

Feet propped up in a hammock

When you look at Kai’s schedule, you can see that he’s left open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. While he plans on using Sundays to complete larger assignments when he needs to, he’s left his Friday and Saturday evenings open for leisure.

Now that you have considered ways to create a schedule, you can practice making one that will help you succeed academically. The California Community College’s Online Education site has a free source for populating a study schedule based on your individual course load.

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Duke Learning Innovation and Lifetime Education

How Much Homework is Too Much?

When redesigning a course or putting together a new course, faculty often struggle with how much homework and readings to assign. Too little homework and students might not be prepared for the class sessions or be able to adequately practice basic skills or produce sufficient in-depth work to properly master the learning goals of the course. Too much and some students may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to keep up or have to sacrifice work in other courses.

A common rule of thumb is that students should study three hours for each credit hour of the course, but this isn’t definitive. Universities might recommend that students spend anywhere from two or three hours of study or as much as six to nine hours of study or more for each course credit hour. A 2014 study found that, nationwide, college students self reported spending about 17 hours each week on homework, reading and assignments. Studies of high school students show that too much homework can produce diminishing returns on student learning, so finding the right balance can be difficult.

There are no hard and fast rules about the amount of readings and homework that faculty assign. It will vary according to the university, the department, the level of the classes, and even other external factors that impact students in your course. (Duke’s faculty handbook addresses many facets of courses, such as absences, but not the typical amount of homework specifically.)

To consider the perspective of a typical student that might be similar to the situations faced at Duke, Harvard posted a blog entry by one of their students aimed at giving students new to the university about what they could expect. There are lots of readings, of course, but time has to be spent on completing problem sets, sometimes elaborate multimedia or research projects, responding to discussion posts and writing essays. Your class is one of several, and students have to balance the needs of your class with others and with clubs, special projects, volunteer work or other activities they’re involved with as part of their overall experience.

The Rice Center for Teaching Excellence has some online calculators for estimating class workload that can help you get a general understanding of the time it may take for a student to read a particular number of pages of material at different levels or to complete essays or other types of homework.

To narrow down your decision-making about homework when redesigning or creating your own course, you might consider situational factors that may influence the amount of homework that’s appropriate.

Connection with your learning goals

Is the homework clearly connected with the learning goals of your students for a particular class session or week in the course? Students will find homework beneficial and valuable if they feel that it is meaningful . If you think students might see readings or assignments as busy work, think about ways to modify the homework to make a clearer connection with what is happening in class. Resist the temptation to assign something because the students need to know it. Ask yourself if they will actually use it immediately in the course or if the material or exercises should be relegated to supplementary material.

Levels of performance

The type of readings and homework given to first year students will be very different from those given to more experienced individuals in higher-level courses. If you’re unsure if your readings or other work might be too easy (or too complex) for students in your course, ask a colleague in your department or at another university to give feedback on your assignment. If former students in the course (or a similar course) are available, ask them for feedback on a sample reading or assignment.

Common practices

What are the common practices in your department or discipline? Some departments, with particular classes, may have general guidelines or best practices you can keep in mind when assigning homework.

External factors

What type of typical student will be taking your course? If it’s a course preparing for a major or within an area of study, are there other courses with heavy workloads they might be taking at the same time? Are they completing projects, research, or community work that might make it difficult for them to keep up with a heavy homework load for your course?

Students who speak English as a second language, are first generation students, or who may be having to work to support themselves as they take courses may need support to get the most out of homework. Detailed instructions for the homework, along with outlining your learning goals and how the assignment connects the course, can help students understand how the readings and assignments fit into their studies. A reading guide, with questions prompts or background, can help students gain a better understanding of a reading. Resources to look up unfamiliar cultural references or terms can make readings and assignments less overwhelming.

If you would like more ideas about planning homework and assignments for your course or more information and guidance on course design and assessment, contact Duke Learning Innovation to speak with one of our consultants .

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Student Study Time Matters

Vicki nelson.

how many hours of homework do college students get

Most college students want to do well, but they don’t always know what is required to do well. Finding and spending quality study time is one of the first and most important skills that your student can master, but it's rarely as simple as it sounds.

If a student is struggling in class, one of the first questions I ask is, “How much time do you spend studying?”

Although it’s not the only element, time spent studying is one of the basics, so it’s a good place to start. Once we examine time, we can move on to other factors such as how, where, what and when students are studying, but we start with time .

If your student is struggling , help them explore how much time they are spending on schoolwork.

How Much Is Enough?

Very often, a student’s answer to how much time they spend hitting the books doesn’t match the expectation that most professors have for college students. There’s a disconnect about “how much is enough?”

Most college classes meet for a number of “credit hours” – typically 3 or 4. The general rule of thumb (and the definition of credit hour adopted by the Department of Education) is that students should spend approximately 2–3 hours on outside-of-class work for each credit hour or hour spent in the classroom.

Therefore, a student taking five 3-credit classes spends 15 hours each week in class and should be spending 30 hours on work outside of class , or 45 hours/week total.

When we talk about this, I can see on students’ faces that for most of them this isn’t even close to their reality!

According to one survey conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement, most college students spend an average of 10–13 hours/week studying, or less than 2 hours/day and less than half of what is expected. Only about 11% of students spend more than 25 hours/week on schoolwork.

Why Such a Disconnect?

Warning: math ahead!

It may be that students fail to do the math – or fail to flip the equation.

College expectations are significantly different from the actual time that most high school students spend on outside-of-school work, but the total picture may not be that far off. In order to help students understand, we crunch some more numbers.

Most high school students spend approximately 6 hours/day or 30 hours/week in school. In a 180 day school year, students spend approximately 1,080 hours in school. Some surveys suggest that the average amount of time that most high school students spend on homework is 4–5 hours/week. That’s approximately 1 hour/day or 180 hours/year. So that puts the average time spent on class and homework combined at 1,260 hours/school year.

Now let’s look at college: Most semesters are approximately 15 weeks long. That student with 15 credits (5 classes) spends 225 hours in class and, with the formula above, should be spending 450 hours studying. That’s 675 hours/semester or 1,350 for the year. That’s a bit more than the 1,260 in high school, but only 90 hours, or an average of 3 hours more/week.

The problem is not necessarily the number of hours, it's that many students haven’t flipped the equation and recognized the time expected outside of class.

In high school, students’ 6-hour school day was not under their control but they did much of their work during that time. That hour-or-so a day of homework was an add-on. (Some students definitely spend more than 1 hour/day, but we’re looking at averages.)

In college, students spend a small number of hours in class (approximately 15/week) and are expected to complete almost all their reading, writing and studying outside of class. The expectation doesn’t require significantly more hours; the hours are simply allocated differently – and require discipline to make sure they happen. What students sometimes see as “free time” is really just time that they are responsible for scheduling themselves.

Help Your Student Adjust to College Academics >

How to Fit It All In?

Once we look at these numbers, the question that students often ask is, “How am I supposed to fit that into my week? There aren’t enough hours!”

Again: more math.

I remind students that there are 168 hours in a week. If a student spends 45 hours on class and studying, that leaves 123 hours. If the student sleeps 8 hours per night (few do!), that’s another 56 hours which leaves 67 hours, or at least 9.5 hours/day for work or play.

Many colleges recommend that full-time students should work no more than 20 hours/week at a job if they want to do well in their classes and this calculation shows why.

Making It Work

Many students may not spend 30 or more hours/week studying, but understanding what is expected may motivate them to put in some additional study time. That takes planning, organizing and discipline. Students need to be aware of obstacles and distractions (social media, partying, working too many hours) that may interfere with their ability to find balance.

What Can My Student Do?

Here are a few things your student can try.

  • Start by keeping a time journal for a few days or a week . Keep a log and record what you are doing each hour as you go through your day. At the end of the week, observe how you have spent your time. How much time did you actually spend studying? Socializing? Sleeping? Texting? On social media? At a job? Find the “time stealers.”
  • Prioritize studying. Don’t hope that you’ll find the time. Schedule your study time each day – make it an appointment with yourself and stick to it.
  • Limit phone time. This isn’t easy. In fact, many students find it almost impossible to turn off their phones even for a short time. It may take some practice but putting the phone away during designated study time can make a big difference in how efficient and focused you can be.
  • Spend time with friends who study . It’s easier to put in the time when the people around you are doing the same thing. Find an accountability partner who will help you stay on track.
  • If you have a job, ask if there is any flexibility with shifts or responsibilities. Ask whether you can schedule fewer shifts at prime study times like exam periods or when a big paper or project is due. You might also look for an on-campus job that will allow some study time while on the job. Sometimes working at a computer lab, library, information or check-in desk will provide down time. If so, be sure to use it wisely.
  • Work on strengthening your time management skills. Block out study times and stick to the plan. Plan ahead for long-term assignments and schedule bite-sized pieces. Don’t underestimate how much time big assignments will take.

Being a full-time student is a full-time job. Start by looking at the numbers with your student and then encourage them to create strategies that will keep them on task.

With understanding and practice, your student can plan for and spend the time needed to succeed in college.

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how many hours of homework do college students get

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Transition to College

  • Rhythm of the First Semester
  • Tips from a Student on Making It Through the First Year
  • Who Is Your First‑Year Student?
  • Campus Resources: Your Cheat Sheet
  • Handling Roommate Issues

how many hours of homework do college students get

  • Study Time Matters
  • The Importance of Professors and Advisors
  • Should My Student Withdraw from a Difficult Course?

Part 3 Health & Well-Being

  • Essential Health Conversations
  • A Mental Health Game Plan for College Students and Families
  • Assertiveness is the Secret Sauce
  • Is Your Student at Risk for an Eating Disorder?

Part 4 Life Outside the Classroom

  • Learning to Manage Money
  • 5 Ways to Begin Career Prep in the First Year
  • The Value of Outside Opportunities

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College Preparedness: Recovering from the Pandemic

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How much time should you spend studying? Our ‘Goldilocks Day’ tool helps find the best balance of good grades and  well-being

how many hours of homework do college students get

Senior Research Fellow, Allied Health & Human Performance, University of South Australia

how many hours of homework do college students get

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Dot Dumuid is supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Early Career Fellowship GNT1162166 and by the Centre of Research Excellence in Driving Global Investment in Adolescent Health funded by NHMRC GNT1171981.

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For students, as for all of us, life is a matter of balance, trade-offs and compromise. Studying for hours on end is unlikely to lead to best academic results. And it could have negative impacts on young people’s physical, mental and social well-being.

Our recent study found the best way for young people to spend their time was different for mental health than for physical health, and even more different for school-related outcomes. Students needed to spend more time sitting for best cognitive and academic performance, but physical activity trumped sitting time for best physical health. For best mental health, longer sleep time was most important.

It’s like a game of rock, paper, scissors with time use. So, what is the sweet spot, or as Goldilocks put it, the “just right” amount of study?

Read more: Back to school: how to help your teen get enough sleep

Using our study data for Australian children aged 11 and 12, we are developing a time-optimisation tool that allows the user to define their own mental, physical and cognitive health priorities. Once the priorities are set, the tool provides real-time updates on what the user’s estimated “Goldilocks day” looks like.

Stylised dial set between 'too little' and 'too much' to achieve 'perfect balance'.

More study improves grades, but not as much as you think

Over 30 years of research shows that students doing more homework get better grades. However, extra study doesn’t make as much difference as people think. An American study found the average grades of high school boys increased by only about 1.5 percentage points for every extra hour of homework per school night.

What these sorts of studies don’t consider is that the relationship between time spent doing homework and academic achievement is unlikely to be linear. A high school boy doing an extra ten hours of homework per school night is unlikely to improve his grades by 15 percentage points.

There is a simple explanation for this: doing an extra ten hours of homework after school would mean students couldn’t go to bed until the early hours of the morning. Even if they could manage this for one day, it would be unsustainable over a week, let alone a month. In any case, adequate sleep is probably critical for memory consolidation .

Read more: What's the point of homework?

As we all know, there are only 24 hours in a day. Students can’t devote more time to study without taking this time from other parts of their day. Excessive studying may become detrimental to learning ability when too much sleep time is lost.

Another US study found that, regardless of how long a student normally spent studying, sacrificing sleep to fit in more study led to learning problems on the following day. Among year 12s, cramming in an extra three hours of study almost doubled their academic problems. For example, students reported they “did not understand something taught in class” or “did poorly on a test, quiz or homework”.

Excessive study could also become unhelpful if it means students don’t have time to exercise. We know exercise is important for young people’s cognition , particularly their creative thinking, working memory and concentration.

On the one hand, then, more time spent studying is beneficial for grades. On the other hand, too much time spent studying is detrimental to grades.

We have to make trade-offs

Of course, how young people spend their time is not only important to their academic performance, but also to their health. Because what is the point of optimising school grades if it means compromising physical, mental and social well-being? And throwing everything at academic performance means other aspects of health will suffer.

US sleep researchers found the ideal amount of sleep for for 15-year-old boys’ mental health was 8 hours 45 minutes a night, but for the best school results it was one hour less.

Clearly, to find the “Goldilocks Zone” – the optimal balance of study, exercise and sleep – we need to think about more than just school grades and academic achievement.

Read more: 'It was the best five years of my life!' How sports programs are keeping disadvantaged teens at school

Looking for the Goldilocks Day

Based on our study findings , we realised the “Goldilocks Day” that was the best on average for all three domains of health (mental, physical and cognitive) would require compromises. Our optimisation algorithm estimated the Goldilocks Day with the best overall compromise for 11-to-12-year-olds. The breakdown was roughly:

10.5 hours of sleep

9.5 hours of sedentary behaviour (such as sitting to study, chill out, eat and watch TV)

2.5 hours of light physical activity (chores, shopping)

1.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (sport, running).

We also recognised that people – or the same people at different times — have different priorities. Around exam time, academic performance may become someone’s highest priority. They may then wish to manage their time in a way that leads to better study results, but without completely neglecting their mental or physical health.

To better explore these trade-offs, we developed our time-use optimisation tool based on Australian data . Although only an early prototype, the tool shows there is no “one size fits all” solution to how young people should be spending their time. However, we can be confident the best solutions will involve a healthy balance across multiple daily activities.

Just like we talk about the benefits of a balanced diet, we should start talking about the benefits of balanced time use. The better equipped young people and those supporting them are to find their optimal daily balance of sleep, sedentary behaviours and physical activities, the better their learning outcomes will be, without compromising their health and well-being.

  • Mental health
  • Physical activity
  • Children's mental health
  • Children and sleep
  • Children's well-being
  • children's physical health
  • Sleep research

how many hours of homework do college students get

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A New Report Reveals That Homework in the United States is an Easy Load

Two new reports debunk the notion that U.S. schoolchildren suffer from a growing homework load, with little time to play and just be kids.

The great majority of students at all grade levels now spend less than one hour studying on a typical day—an amount that has not changed substantially in at least twenty years, according to data analyzed by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution and the RAND Corporation.

The research contradicts dramatic anecdotes of children overwhelmed with homework. The Brookings and RAND researchers collected and reviewed the best social science available on children’s homework, including data from surveys conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), the Population Studies Center at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, and the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.

Even at the high school level, where more homework might be expected to prepare students for the demands of college or the workplace, only about a third of seventeen-year-olds spend an hour or more a day on homework.

The Brown Center on Education Policy conducted the study after a wave of dramatic news stories over the past few years described a backlash against homework. Since 2001, feature stories about onerous homework loads and parents fighting back have appeared in Time , Newsweek , and People magazines; the New York Times , Washington Post , Los Angeles Times , Raleigh News and Observer , and the Tampa Tribune ; and the CBS Evening News and other media outlets.

“The stories are misleading,” writes author Tom Loveless, director of the Brown Center. “They do not reflect the experiences of a majority—or even a significant minority—of American schoolchildren.”

“Excessive homework is not a common problem,” writes Loveless in the report. “The critics of homework need to produce some very powerful evidence before policymakers start mandating reductions in homework or even banning it altogether. To date, the evidence put forth by homework critics has been weak.”

Across three different age groups, the percentage of students with less than an hour of daily homework has actually risen since 1984, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which for two decades has been asking a nationally representative sample of students questions about homework.

In 1999, 83 percent of nine-year-olds, 66 percent of thirteen-year-olds, and 65 percent of seventeen-year-olds reported having less than an hour of homework per night (see figure 1). In 1984, 81 percent of nine-year-olds, 63 percent of thirteen-year-olds, and 59 percent of seventeen-year-olds had reported spending that amount of time studying.

Another survey, the Third International Math and Science Study, finds that American high school students have one of the lightest homework loads in the world. Of twenty countries, the United States ranked near the bottom, tied for the next-to-last position. Students in France, Italy, Russia, and South Africa reported spending at least twice as much time on homework as American students.

The University of Michigan research does show an increase in the amount of homework given to children ages six to eight. But the increase of ten to eleven minutes a day is largely due to the fact that the baseline was low to begin with—only a third of children ages six to eight spent any time at all on studying in 1981.

“Why is it important to get the homework study right?” asks Loveless. “Mainly because it is positively associated with student learning.” Research shows that the relationship of homework with student achievement is positive for both middle and high school students and neutral for elementary school students.

Moreover, homework is a “barometer of the success—or the limits—of movements to raise academic standards,” write Brian Gill of RAND and Steven Schlossman of Carnegie Mellon University in the fall 2003 issue of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.

“To succeed, academic excellence movements ultimately require students to invest effort in their studies; time spent on homework is a ground-level indicator of this effort,” say Gill and Schlossman.

Gill and Schlossman trace homework time trends of the past fifty years, finding that the only substantial increases in homework for high-school students occurred in the decade after Sputnik, when the nation launched an academic excellence movement motivated by competition with the Soviet Union. Homework time subsequently declined to pre-Sputnik levels, and the excellence movement of the 1980s and 1990s that followed the publication of “A Nation at Risk” caused surprisingly small increases in homework (see figure 8).

Ironically, the only increase in homework in the last two decades has happened precisely in the lower grade levels, where researchers believe it matters least for academic achievement, according to Gill and Schlossman.

Most parents feel the homework load is about right, and, of those who would like to change it, more parents would rather see more homework than less, according to a 2000 poll conducted by the Public Agenda Foundation. Only one out of ten parents believes there is too much homework.

When a homework problem exists, which can happen because children vary in their study habits, solutions should come from parents and teachers, not policymakers, Loveless says.

About the Brown Center on Education Policy and the Brookings Institution

Established in 1992, the Brown Center on Education Policy conducts research on topics in American education, with a special focus on efforts to improve academic achievement in elementary and secondary schools. The Brown Center is part of the Brookings Institution, a private, nonprofit organization devoted to research, education, and publication on important issues of domestic and foreign policy. The Institution maintains a position of neutrality on issues of public policy. Interpretations or conclusions in Brookings publications should be understood to be solely those of the authors.

For a full copy of the report as well as information about other Brown Center events and publications, please visit the Brown Center’s website , or call Tucker Warren at 202/457-8100.

About RAND Education

RAND Education conducts independent research and analysis on education policy, including school reform and educational assessment and accountability. RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.

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College Aftermath

How Many Hours Do Students Spend on Homework?

How Many Hours Do Students Spend on Homework?

Homework. Does this word trigger you? It reminded me of all the hours I spent on schoolwork as a kid, taking different lessons outside school. The same goes for my college years, all the sleepless nights completing my assignments and wondering if this degree was really worth it? It felt like I spent half of my life doing educational assignments and not actually enjoying my life. Have you ever wondered how many hours of your life are taken by your assignments? Research by Challenge Success found that high school students spend about 3 hours per day, meaning about 21 hours per week on homework. This number is obviously higher for college students. An article by Medium reported that college students might spend about 40 hours or more per week on assignments. These number doesn’t include the hours spent in class. So we will see how many hours do students spend on homework in this article

A mental and physical war with homework

There’s always this stigma that the more students spend time on their homework, the more productive they are and the more intelligent they’ll get. But did you know that most students reported feeling stressed due to (yes, you guessed it) homework? 

Stanford News reported that “many students struggle to balance homework, extracurricular activities, and social time. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.”

Studies on the effect of homework on high schoolers have shown that the stress due to homework leads to multiple mental and physical health problems like anxiety, fatigue, headache, and stomach ache. This is especially bad for college students who have to balance their college life and work-life simultaneously. No wonder so many young people globally struggle with mental illnesses. 

How many hours should we spend on homework?

There are no definite answers to this. Some students feel fine after five hours of homework, and some feel overwhelmed after about three hours of homework. Although, it seems like the average student’s hours on their task are already more than enough. A study in 2015 by The American Journal of Family Therapy found that students in the early elementary school years are getting more homework than is recommended. In some cases, nearly three times as much homework as is recommended.

They recommended the “10 minutes per grade level per night” rule as a solution. So, starting from 10 minutes, as the grade increases, 10 minutes are added. Basically, first graders will spend 10 minutes on homework per night, second graders spend 20 minutes, third graders spend 30 minutes, and so on.

Tips on managing school workload

Now that you know the harmful effects of over-studying and how ineffective it is, here are tips on how to deal with school workload!

Try getting used to journaling. This will help you keep track of upcoming assignments and keep you on track. Prioritize your tasks that have closer deadlines, don’t procrastinate! Finish your assignments as soon as possible to prevent the hassle of doing everything last minute (we’re all guilty of this). 

  • Know your limits

Students are somewhat like superhumans. You may have a mental breakdown and not have a wink of sleep but still manage to function well and act like everything’s okay the next day. But since you are not real superhumans, you have to know your limits. This is especially for college students who take part-time jobs. Try finding part-time jobs that only require you to work about 20 hours a week and have flexible work hours. I know earning money is more exciting, but prioritize completing your studies!

  • Study groups

Studying alone all the time can be isolating. Invite your closest friends to study together! Not only can you help each other out, but you can also have a nice fun chat in between studying. This will make studying fun and less stressful.

  • Take breaks and have fun!

Repeat after me, “I deserve a good break.” Overworking is not sexy. For your mental and physical health, take a break when you need to! Watch a movie, hang out with your friends, or even take a fat nap. You will be even more productive if your mind is clear, happy, and well-rested. 

More isn’t always good. Adding the extra hours for homework can also mean adding extra stress. Like the saying “you live only once,” you don’t wanna regret not living your life to the fullest as a teenager. Studying and excelling academically is cool, but it’s even cooler also to have plenty of fun memories and experiences with your friends and family. To maintain a work-life balance, know your limits, and manage your time effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is homework necessary?

Yes. Homework can help you practice the knowledge you got in school.

  • Which country gives the least homework?

Finland. They are said even to have short school days!

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Understanding and Estimating Instructional Time and Homework

Introduction.

What counts as “class time” — especially when you are adapting a course to a new format like hybrid or online? How do you structure time to maximize engagement and (in online or hybrid situations) get the most out of synchronous or in-person time? Here we explain the relationship between instructional time, homework, and credit hours, so you can understand what Champlain and our accreditors require. We also discuss some options for instructional time that may be very different from what you would do in the classroom.

Credit Hours, Instructional Time, and Out-of-Class Work

Students’ class loads are measured in credit hours; a typical full-time load at Champlain is 15 hours, usually equaling five three-hour classes, although this may vary. The number of credit hours associated with a course is determined by the number of hours it “meets” per week — that is, the amount of instructional time. (This will vary for capstones, internships, and some other course types.)

Most faculty who teach in person are not used to thinking about instructional time. Instead, we think about the hours that we are in the classroom with our students each week. But we can learn from Champlain College Online and other online or blended modes of learning that instructional time can take different forms, many of which might not involve synchronous or in-person interaction.

The key characteristic of instructional time is interaction between instructor and students. The New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE), Champlain’s accreditor, requires that we provide quality learning experiences that include “ regular, substantive academic interaction ” between instructor and students. Regular interaction means that the faculty member connects with students fairly frequently, in a way that students can grow to expect. Substantive interaction means that the faculty-student interaction is academic in nature and initiated by the instructor.

Therefore, in a hybrid or online course, instructional time is the total hours your students spend in synchronous activities AND asynchronous instructional equivalents like watching recorded lectures, taking quizzes via Canvas, participating in discussion forums, and activities you might normally do as a group, such as a virtual field trip or service project.

According to NECHE, alongside instructional time each week, students should spend approximately twice the number of hours they spend “in class” doing work for that class. That is, if a course is worth three credits (about two and a half hours of instructional time), on average students should be doing approximately five hours of preparation and out-of-class assignments each week, for a total of seven and a half hours of time committed to that course. Rice University’s Center for Teaching Excellence provides an interactive tool for estimating out-of-class student time commitments.

For more information on how this math works, please see Albright College’s explanation of Carnegie Units and credit hours .

Planning Online or Hybrid Instructional Time Equivalents

In the classroom, we know what constitutes instructional time: things we do when we are physically present with students. In fully online situations, we must consider the amount of time students are expected to spend on asynchronous instructional equivalents. In hybrid situations, we must carefully consider the mix of in-person and virtual interaction to calculate instructional time.

Virtual instructional time can involve adaptations of in-person instruction. It can also involve different kinds of activities. Some strategies for interactive, engaging instruction that does not take place through videoconference lecturing include:

Possible Adaptations of In-Person Instruction

  • Recorded lecture
  • Synchronous small group discussions, critiques, labs, projects, etc.
  • Asynchronous discussion forums
  • Quizzes and tests delivered via Canvas
  • Guest speaker virtual “visit” or webinar
  • Library education sessions or consultations with a research librarian (currently offered virtually)

Possible Instructional Time Innovations

  • One-on-one or small-group synchronous conversations with the instructor (similar to the tutorial system )
  • Individual real-world experiences shared through reflection or discussion (e.g., plant observation walk, interviewing a professional in the field, service learning, etc)
  • Virtual tours and field trips
  • Lecture-style slides, or written instructor-created content that would normally be delivered via lecture in class
  • Collaborative whiteboard, brainstorming, and/or problem-solving activities (synchronous or asynchronous)
  • Collaborative reading and annotation using a tool like Hypothesis or Perusall
  • Remote/virtual labs
  • Low-stakes surveys, quizzes, or check-ins
  • Peer review (synchronous or asynchronous)
  • Contributing to and commenting on a virtual gallery

There are many options! This list is not intended to be exhaustive. When deciding on instructional time activities, you should focus on options that are highly interactive (student-faculty and/or student-student) and/or focus on experiences like labs, field trips, interviews, or service learning.

Estimating Workloads

This wide range of strategies is great, and it raises an important question: how long does it take students to do these things? How do you get the amount of instructional time equivalents to roughly mirror the number of hours you would spend in a classroom with your students, when you students are completing tasks on their own time and may not work at the same speed?

First of all, something to consider: students generally work a lot less hard when they are sitting in a classroom taking part in an all-class discussion than they do when everyone is required to contribute a discussion post or two on Canvas. A group lab may be less work than a virtual one. The great thing about this is that your instruction can become much richer as students branch out into the things that most pique their interest. However, be aware that asynchronous instructional time can be much more mental labor and organizational work than some forms of classroom instruction, and so your students may be working harder for the same amount of instructional time, or may be spending more time than you think. Create your prompts, assignments, and grading schemes in a way that acknowledges this increased effort.

Pragmatically, here are some estimated amounts of time students might spend doing common virtual learning tasks. (We’re skipping over tasks that have a clearer time commitment like lecture videos and timed quizzes.)

  • Discussion posts: minimum of 30 minutes for a 250-word/one-paragraph post and skimming other posts. Direct responses to other students’ posts may take a little less time.
  • Blog post: approximately 30 minutes for a 250-word reflection post. If you require research or longer posts, allot at least an hour.
  • Case study activities: account for reading time as well as writing time, which will vary widely depending on the exercise. An optimal adult reader who reads visually, does not have reading-related disabilities, and is fluent in English can read about 300 words per minute with no new concepts. For new concepts, writing for an academic audience (eg. journal articles), special genres of writing (e.g. legal cases), or texts you want students to analyze deeply, estimate 150 words per minute. Allow writing time as above. Thus a case study analysis based on a news article–which is a great option for a discussion forum!–with a 250-word response might take 30-45 minutes. On the other hand, analysis of a fifteen-page journal article with a 250-word response could easily take an hour and a half or more.
  • Independently arranged interview, field trip, or service learning experience: make sure to add an estimate of the time it takes to arrange an experience (if students are doing that work) to the experience itself.

These suggested times may seem slow to you–but remember, you are estimating based on the speed of an average student.

We also provide a resource on strategies for balancing synchronous and asynchronous teaching , as well as some slides with examples of how to balance and estimate synchronous and asynchronous instructional time equivalents in different types of classes.

Works Consulted

Other institutions’ approaches.

  • Course Workload Estimator , Rice University Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Credit and Contact Hour and Instructional Equivalencies Guidelines , Valdosta State University
  • Guidelines for Instructional Time Equivalencies Across Formats/Assignment of Credit Hours , Misericordia University
  • Instructional Equivalencies Chart , Albright College

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Search the site, search suggestions, "homework" in college.

Close up of student holding a piece of paper

Since coming to Harvard, I don’t recall even once hearing the word “homework”—which is a pretty strange thing considering the role it played for the first 12 years of my education (spoiler alert: this doesn’t mean that we don’t have assignments and work to do).

However, the type of work that’s assigned in college is different from what I was used to in high school, so I’m here to break it down for you.

Problem Sets

Problem sets, or “psets”, are typically packets of questions that are assigned and due on a regular basis. Most of my pset classes have been math and science courses, although they don’t necessarily have to be. I think the biggest difference between psets in college compared to similar assignments in high school is that they can be really challenging, and many courses expect and encourage students to work together on them—I made some of my best friends while struggling through organic chemistry psets lasts year!

Completed homework with comments and a congratulatory sticker featuring a monkey

Sometimes you even get stickers.

Rather than lots of shorter assignments, many classes opt for a few essays spaced throughout the semester. Humanities classes (English, history, etc.) are typically essay classes, although many science classes also have you practice scientific writing through grant proposal or review-style papers. If you’re not super comfortable writing academic papers coming into college, not to worry! All freshmen take a writing course (Expos) during the first year to make sure that everyone is on the same foot. There’s a ton of individual feedback, so it can be really beneficial no matter what your level of writing is coming in.

Discussion Posts

Particularly if it’s an essay class, you might be assigned additional questions to respond to on an online forum for the course. It’s a nice way to keep people on track with the reading, and the responses are often used to start discussion in section.

*Most larger courses have weekly “sections” with 12-15 students and a teaching fellow leading discussion—it’s an opportunity to review the material and go more in-depth with the readings.

Reading (sometimes a lot of reading)

One of the bigger adjustments for some students is learning how to get through hundreds of pages of reading per week. Granted, this depends on what type of classes you’re taking—it is possible to tailor your schedule to an amount of reading that’s appropriate for you. I’ve found that my humanities classes have a much higher volume of reading, but that my science courses have denser reading—sometimes a seven page primary lit paper from a science journal takes me the same amount of time to read as forty pages in a novel. If you are struggling to get through all of your assigned reading, or just want to use your time more efficiently, the Bureau of Study Counsel offers “speed reading” courses during the year which are said to be really helpful!

Author with book over her face

I was found very diligently reading my book.

I have to say, I’ve had some pretty cool project assignments in college. In my multivariable calc class, our final project was to use Mathematica (a math tool) to come up with equations that would form a 3D object, so I made and printed a 3D minion. In a genetics class, we spent the semester analyzing our own DNA in lab, looking for markers that might indicate lactose intolerance, ancestral history, etc. (I wasn’t lactose intolerant, thankfully.) One of my friends is in a Folklore and Mythology class on quilt making, and her final project is to make a quilt. Pretty cool, huh?

Photograph of author holding a toy "minion" from the film "Despicable Me"

My minion!!

Ah yes, not one to forget. On the plus side, there tend to be fewer exams in college than in high school—for classes that do have exams, you would likely only have 1-2 midterms and a final. Studying is often more effective in a group, so it’s another chance to meet people in your class!

Whew! While this is not a complete list, hopefully it gives a sense of the type of work you might be asked to do here. You can choose a schedule of classes that’s a good fit for you—while some people really like taking four essay classes or four pset classes at once, for example, I always try to strike a balance halfway in between. Particularly if you’re taking classes that you’re really interested in, the work doesn’t even seem so bad. :)

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What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.

Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.

The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.

However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).

For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).

There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”

In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :

  • How long will it take to complete?
  • Have all learners been considered?
  • Will an assignment encourage future success?
  • Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
  • Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).

Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.

Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.

Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.

Parents Play a Key Role

Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.

But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.

Utah State University

Search Utah State University:

Estimate study hours, “how many hours do i need to study”.

First-year college students are often academically successful in high school without spending much time studying outside of class. In fact, spending time in academic pursuits is frequently viewed within high school peer groups as “nerdy” or only for the “unintelligent.” Consequently, there can be a good deal of pressure to not study and you may hold a similar paradigm. It is helpful to realize that you came by this view honestly, as it is the framework under which high school often operates – a framework that is the foundation of your academic learning process (Balduf 2009).

However, now that you are in college you should understand that the rules of the game have changed. You may have heard that for every hour spent in a college class, you need or are expected to spend two hours outside of class studying. But have you taken the time to figure out exactly how many study hours this totals for you personally in a given week? Is it possible you are unaware of the time and effort necessary to succeed in college, regardless of how easy it appears for others? You may be surprised to find that although you feel like you study “all the time,” your disappointing grade on a particular exam is due to underestimating the time and study strategies it takes to learn college level material.

Participants attributed their high school successes to minor efforts. Not needing to do much to earn the success they wanted, these students were never taught, nor ever taught themselves, how to work through challenging issues. When these participants encountered challenging coursework in college, they were unprepared to deal with it. Additionally, several other aspects of participants’ experiences contributed to their college underachievement: inadequate study skills, poor time management, and internal versus external motivation. (Italics added for emphasis.)

According to the article, “Underachievement Among College Students,” in the Journal of Advanced Academics, a research study of college freshman on academic probation, but who were successful in high school, summarized (Balduf 2009):

Estimating Study Hours Based On Course Difficulty

Rather than focusing on the arbitrary two hours of study for every hour in class method for determining your needed study hours per week, the Estimating Study Hours worksheet will help you determine study time based on course difficulty as well. In other words, you may have more background knowledge (experience) in English than you do in math. In classes that are more difficult for you, it is not unusual to spend three to four hours a day in study and fewer in the classes with which you are more familiar.

Complete the Estimating My Weekly Study Hours Worksheet.

Estimating My Weekly Study Hours Worksheet

Final Thoughts: There’s no need to get discouraged or perfectionistic about a new study plan. Instead, the goal is to become aware how much time it takes to succeed in college. If it seems overwhelming or unrealistic to add this many hours to your study schedule, you have some options:

  • Consider taking fewer credits – believe it or not, college is not a race. It’s better to go a little slower and get better grades.
  • Try to keep your work hours less than 20-25 hours per week.
  • Try adding one more hour of study per day to begin with. This will increase your weekly total by 5 to 7 hours!

Balduf, Megan (2009). “Underachievement Among College Students.” Journal of Advanced Academics , Vol. 20, Num. 2, Winter 2009, 274-294

Jensen, Deborah, et. al. (2011). “Lab 2 – Time Management.” PSY 1730 Student Lab Packet , 6th Edition, 7-9

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Home » University Of Chicago » How Many Hours Of Homework Do College Students Get?

How Many Hours Of Homework Do College Students Get?

Table of Contents

In college, a good rule of thumb for homework estimates that for each college credit you take, you’ll spend one hour in the classroom and two to three hours on homework each week . These homework tasks can include readings, working on assignments, or studying for exams.

How much time do college students spend on homework per day?

According to one survey conducted by the National Survey of Student Engagement, most college students spend an average of 10–13 hours/week studying, or less than 2 hours/day and less than half of what is expected. Only about 11% of students spend more than 25 hours/week on schoolwork.

How much time do students spend on homework?

High schoolers reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight , according to a study by the Washington Post from 2018 to 2020 of over 50,000 individuals. A survey of approximately 200 Bellaire High School students revealed that some students spend over three times this number.

How much free time do college students have?

College students on average will have 3 to 5 hours of free time every day . On average, students can expect to spend 25-30 hours per week on class work. Upperclassmen will tend to have less free time because of harder classes. However, underclassmen will tend to have more free time due to easier classes.

How many hours is normal for a college student?

The average college student spends 15 hours a week in class. However, this weekly time commitment can vary depending on how many semester credit hours you take. As a college student, you set your class schedule. The typical college student also devotes 14 hours and 30 minutes to independent study.

Is 5 hours of homework too much?

Pope and her colleagues found that too much homework can diminish its effectiveness and even be counterproductive . They cite prior research indicating that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school.

Does college give a lot of homework?

A typical semester would involve 5 different classes (each with 3 units), which means that a student would be doing an average of 45 hours of homework per week . That would equal to around 6 hours of homework a day, including weekends.

How many hours of homework is too much?

That study, published in The Journal of Experimental Education, suggested that any more than two hours of homework per night is counterproductive. However, students who participated in the study reported doing slightly more than three hours of homework each night, on average.

What percent of students are stressed by homework?

According to the survey data, 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress. The remaining students viewed tests and the pressure to get good grades as the primary stressors.

Does homework affect mental health?

“The findings were troubling: Research showed that excessive homework is associated with high stress levels, physical health problems and lack of balance in children’s lives ; 56% of the students in the study cited homework as a primary stressor in their lives,” according to the CNN story.

How hard is college really?

In summary, college classes are definitely harder than high school classes : the topics are more complicated, the learning is more fast-paced, and the expectations for self-teaching are much higher. HOWEVER, college classes are not necessarily harder to do well in.

How many hours should I work a week as a college student?

Working while going to college has benefits other than the obvious financial ones. There’s good evidence that juggling a job while seeking your degree can actually boost your GPA. Here’s what you need to know.

How busy is the average college student?

On an average weekday, full-time university and college students spent 3.5 hours engaged in educational activities, 2.3 hours working, 8.8 hours sleeping, and spent 4.0 hours in leisure and sports activities.

Is studying 1 hour a day enough?

In Conclusion. University experts recommend 2-3 hours of studying per one hour of class . Following this method can result in a very, very long day for the average college student. You can use this method if it works for you, but in reality, it’s all about knowing you and how you study.

How many hours a day do college students spend in class?

COLLEGE: You spend 12 to 16 hours each week in class, usually with breaks in between. Times are not limited to daylight hours, many classes are offered in the evening. In most cases, the academic year is divided into two 15-week semesters, plus a week after each semester for exams.

How long is a typical college day?

The typical day of classes at college is three hours long. However, students may attend classes for more than or less than three hours depending on their class schedule structure, number of semester credits, average class session length, and number of asynchronous online courses.

Is 1 hour of homework too much?

According to a recent study, if it’s more than one hour… then it’s too much . A study from Spain published in the Journal of Educational Psychology by the American Psychological Association found that spending more than one hour on math and science homework can be counterproductive.

Why do colleges give so much homework?

Homework is part of college life that comes as a booster to students to refine knowledge and skills about certain concepts. However, when colleges give too much homework, it can be counter-productive . We seek to give tips on how to handle assignment burdens in school.

What is a healthy amount of homework?

The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “10-minute homework guideline”— a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level .

Do you have homework everyday in college?

Is there less homework in college.

But the difference between what the high school student is doing compared to the college one is often staggering. Those who have studied how students spent their homework time have often said that the average time spent on homework in high school is less than what is done at college .

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By Travis Thornton

Travis Thornton is an education expert who has dedicated his life to helping students achieve their academic goals. He has worked as a teacher, tutor, and administrator in both public and private schools, and he currently serves as the dean of admissions at a prestigious university.

Travis believes that every student has the potential to succeed, and he tirelessly works to help them reach their full potential. He is a passionate advocate for education, and he believes that every student should have access to a quality education.

Travis is also a father of three young children, and he loves spending time with his family. He enjoys playing sports and watching movies together.

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Which ivy league is easiest to get into for masters, why do i want to go to uchicago, what is the most prestigious university in chicago.

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College Student Work Habits are Related to Physical Activity and Fitness

Despite the known benefits of regular physical activity, research shows a significant decline in physical activity participation and an increase in sedentary behavior during young adulthood during the college years. Studies examining the relationship between academic outcomes and fitness/physical activity have not extensively examined this among college students. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between fitness measures (cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition), physical activity, and academic outcomes in college students. This cross-sectional study had college students complete a one-time fitness assessment and survey examining their physical activity and academic factors (GPA, study habits, course load). Correlations examined relationships between fitness, physical activity and academic outcomes, t-tests compared differences for fitness and behavioral outcomes between groups by academic factors. The final sample (n=512) was 50.4% male, 78% Non-Hispanic White, and 67% upperclassmen. The majority (76%) of participants reported meeting current PA guidelines. Hours of studying and social media use were both positively associated with body fat. Course load was negatively associated with vigorous activity. Study time was negatively associated with cardiovascular endurance, positively associated with hip flexibility and sedentary behavior. Higher GPA was associated with a higher BMI and a higher credit load was associated with less vigorous physical activity. These findings indicated that academic outcomes and physical activity may have a different relationship among college students compared with younger age groups. This study provides insight for the development of future campus-based health initiatives to have a shared focus of academic outcomes and physical activity.

INTRODUCTION

Physical activity is associated with decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and lower all-cause mortality rate ( 17 ). The prevalence of chronic disease is a significant issue in public health. Despite the known benefits, research shows a significant decline in physical activity participation and an increase in sedentary behavior during young adulthood during the college years ( 20 ). There is significant evidence documenting the decline in activity levels through adolescence, and this trend continues with increasing age throughout adulthood. A study of 233 undergraduate students reported physical activity levels decreased during the transition from high school to college years; 65% of students reported engagement in regular vigorous and 26% in regular moderate physical activity during high school. Upon follow-up however, during their college years 38% of students participated in regular vigorous and 20% moderate PA( 6 ).

This decline in activity can be related to a variety of factors. As students transition from high school to college they gain greater autonomy relative to their daily lives. Epidemiological findings have reported a decrease in physical activity as autonomy increases throughout middle and high school ( 13 ). One longitudinal study of college students demonstrated that psychosocial and residency (location, i.e. on or off campus housing) influences student physical activity levels as well as related mediators (e.g. self-efficacy, perceived benefits)( 21 ). Other factors could include greater time demands (e.g. work, class time) as well as different access to places to be active.

There is a significant amount of literature examining the relationship between physical activity, cardiorespiratory fitness and cognitive/academic outcomes among adolescent, adult and senior citizen populations ( 16 ). Studies conducted with adolescents are extensive, though may not extrapolate to a college population. One study compared academic outcomes and physical fitness levels (cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition) for 6th and 7th graders. Analyses revealed that normal weight students had, on average, 11% higher GPA when compared with overweight students. Overweight students had lower reading comprehension scores and aerobic endurance levels were positively correlated with academic outcomes ( 18 ). In addition to these findings, a meta-analysis looking at data across 59 studies resulted that PA had a positive effect on children’s achievement and cognitive outcomes, and the greatest correlation was with aerobic exercise ( 13 ). Despite this abundance of evidence during other life stages, there is limited research examining how physical activity, fitness, and academic outcomes are related during the college years.

The evidence presented reinforces the importance of policies and programs including physical activity in K-12 school settings for both health and academic outcomes. The relationship between physical activity and academic outcomes among college students is less clear, and therein there is a lack of evidence informing college health and wellness programs and policies for physical activity. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between objectively measured physical fitness (cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition), physical activity, sedentary behavior, and academic outcomes in a sample of college students. Based on previous research with other age groups, we hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship between fitness and academic outcomes for college students.

Participants

Participants were volunteers (n=512) enrolled in for-credit physical activity and nutrition classes that required a fitness assessment as a part of their course requirements. Courses drew from all colleges across the universities and were a part of a student general education requirement. Students were invited to take part in the survey between September and December 2013 and provided written consent to use their data. This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Pennsylvania State University.

Cardiovascular Fitness -

All subjects completed the YMCA cycle ergometer protocol ( 2 ). This test consisted of four, 3-minute stages of submaximal exercise. Workrates for stages 2–4 were determined by the heart rate response to the initial workrate of 150 kg·m/min. Heart rate was recorded each minute using an ePulse2 Heart Rate Monitor Armband (Impact Sports Technologies, San Diego, CA). Workrate and heart rate data from each test was entered into The Fitness Analyst software package (BSDI, Califon, New Jersey) and an estimate of maximal oxygen consumption (VO 2 max) was calculated via direct heart rate plotting.

Muscular Endurance -

Assessments included two tests; a one-minute maximum repetition push-up test and modified curl-up test. Modified curl-up’s are performed under a 40bpm cadence (max number possible to perform is 75 repetitions) ( 2 ).

Body Composition -

Height, weight, waist girth, Body Mass Index (BMI), and body fat percentage via bioelectrical impedance (Omron BF306, Omron Global, Lake Forest, IL) were used to assess subject’s body composition and weight status.

Flexibility -

Trunk flexion was assessed with a standard sit-and-reach box, with total distance recorded in centimeters ( 2 ).

Following the objective fitness measurements, subjects were asked to complete a brief survey. An identifying code number generated during the fitness assessment linked the participant’s fitness outcomes with their survey responses.

Demographics -

Students self-reported their current academic year, age, sex, and race/ethnicity.

Behavioral Outcomes -

The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (short-form) was used to assess moderate and vigorous leisure, occupational and transportation related physical activity ( 8 ). Minutes per week of moderate and vigorous physical activity were used in analyses. Students were asked to report number of hours/day spent sitting or reclining on a typical weekday to examine sedentary behavior. Participants also reported how many hours per day they spent using social media using a continuous scale of 0–24 hours. The distribution for social media was examined and the median was 2 hours per day, then social media use was dichotomized as less than or greater than 2 hours per day.

Academic Factors -

Individuals reported their current grade point average (GPA) using a continuous scale. The distribution was then examined and the median was 3.2. GPA was then dichotomized into less than/equal to or greater than 3.2 (all values rounded to the nearest tenth). Participants also indicated how many credits they were currently enrolled in using a continuous scale (dichotomized as normal (≤15) and overload (16 or greater) based on college norms) and the hours per day they spent studying and doing academic work (dichotomized as less than/greater than 2 hours, based on the median reported time).

Statistical Analysis

Basic descriptive statistics described the sample. Pearson correlations examined the relationships between the fitness, behavioral and academic outcomes. Independent t-tests were conducted to compare the differences for high/low social media use, study time and GPA for behavioral and fitness outcomes. Significance levels were set at p<.05 and all analyses were run using SPSS 22.0 (IBM, Armonk, NY).

Table 1 shows the demographics of the sample (n=512) of students. The majority of the population was white (76%) and upperclassmen (67%). For overall physical activity levels, 76% of the population met current physical activity guidelines ( 17 ). A majority (55%) of students reported studying more than 2 hours/day, 51.8% were taking 16 or more credits in the current semester, 61% reported using more than two hours of social media per day, and 59% of the sample had a GPA equal to or greater than a 3.3.

Demographic characteristics of the sample (n=512).

The correlational analyses of fitness variables with academic outcomes study variables are shown in Table 2 . Hours of studying was positively associated with body fat (r=0.13, p<.001) and negatively associated with predicted VO 2 max (r=−.011, p=.02). Social media use was positively associated with body fat (r=.09, p=.04). Number of credits was negatively associated with vigorous physical activity (r=−.09, p=.05).

Correlations between fitness, behavioral and academic outcomes.

Note: Boldface indicates significance, GPA-Grade point average, BMI-body mass index, VPA-vigorous physical activity, MPA-moderate physical activity

The results of t-test analyses comparing academic outcomes (high/low study time, social media use, GPA and number of credits) with fitness outcomes are found in Table 3 . Higher social media use was associated with greater body fat, lower BMI, less vigorous activity and more sedentary behavior compared with low social media use. Greater study time was associated with a lower predicted VO 2 max, greater hip flexibility, and more sedentary behavior than low study time. Higher GPA was associated with a higher BMI and taking a higher credit load was associated with less vigorous physical activity.

Comparison of fitness and behavioral outcomes by academic factors.

GPA-Grade point average, BMI-body mass index, VPA-vigorous physical activity, MPA-moderate physical activity, SB - sedentary behavior.

This study of college students outlines a possible relationship between behavior, fitness and academic variables. During college years, there are a number of personal habits that have the potential to impact health behaviors, including time management, academic activities, leisure activities and social media use. This study attempted to examine how lifestyle health behaviors in college student populations are related to academic factors and physical health outcomes. The implications of this study are relevant for college student healthcare providers, campus health and fitness departments and college administrators for informing preventative health interventions to impact lifelong health and fitness.

The sample in the current study reported that a majority of students both studied for more than two hours and used more than two hours of social media per day. These findings also found that hours of studying were positively associated with body fat and that high levels of social media use were correlated with higher body fat. Despite the findings with study time, no relationship with GPA and fitness was found. There is significant evidence among youth that indicates academic outcomes are positively related to better health outcomes ( 5 , 10 ), though it appears that, among college students, the evidence is much less clear. Similar to our findings, one study of medical students found no relationship between BMI and academic performance ( 1 ). A prospective study of 12–18 year olds found that physical activity was related to greater cognitive performance in early adolescence, but by 18 years the most active youth had lower cognitive performance. This indicates a possible shift in this relationship during the adolescent years ( 12 ). Furthermore, a study with college freshmen by Economos and colleagues ( 11 ) found that weight gain was associated with increased academic workload.

In regards to our findings on social media, limited research has examined how health behaviors and outcomes are related to social media use. Meta-analyses of weight management and social media use found inconclusive evidence for a relationship between BMI and social media use, though the majority of this research involved older populations than those in the current study ( 3 , 7 ). Our findings provide a foundation for further investigation, including examining daily time use.

Correlational analyses indicated that there was a significant relationship between study time compared to physical activity and fitness outcomes. Reported study hours were negatively associated with VO 2 max and vigorous physical activity. Further analyses revealed differences in vigorous activity between high (less active) and low social media use (more active) and credit load (lower load, higher activity). VO 2 max also differed between high (less fit) and low study time (more fit). A similar study involved 493 college students participating in 10 fitness conditioning activity classes ( 4 ). For men, computer use was negatively associated with vigorous exercise and participation in activity, and among women, television watching was negatively correlated with typical frequency of exercise, and history of vigorous physical activity. Time spent studying was positively correlated with days per week of strength training for females, and with minutes per week of exercise for both males and females ( 4 ). These differences suggest that further inquiry is necessary about the impact of social media and study time on physical activity behavior and related health outcomes. Future physical activity interventions targeting college students may need to consider the role of social media when developing intervention strategies or use social media as a behavior change strategy.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors wish to acknowledge the Center for Fitness and Wellness interns who assisted with the data collection for this project.

How Much Homework Is Too Much for Our Teens?

Here's what educators and parents can do to help kids find the right balance between school and home.

Does Your Teen Have Too Much Homework?

Today’s teens are under a lot of pressure.

They're under pressure to succeed, to win, to be the best and to get into the top colleges. With so much pressure, is it any wonder today’s youth report being under as much stress as their parents? In fact, during the school year, teens say they experience stress levels higher than those reported by adults, according to a previous American Psychological Association "Stress in America" survey.

Odds are if you ask a teen what's got them so worked up, the subject of school will come up. School can cause a lot of stress, which can lead to other serious problems, like sleep deprivation . According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night, but only 15 percent are even getting close to that amount. During the school week, most teens only get about six hours of zzz’s a night, and some of that sleep deficit may be attributed to homework.

When it comes to school, many adults would rather not trade places with a teen. Think about it. They get up at the crack of dawn and get on the bus when it’s pitch dark outside. They put in a full day sitting in hours of classes (sometimes four to seven different classes daily), only to get more work dumped on them to do at home. To top it off, many kids have after-school obligations, such as extracurricular activities including clubs and sports , and some have to work. After a long day, they finally get home to do even more work – schoolwork.

[Read: What Parents Should Know About Teen Depression .]

Homework is not only a source of stress for students, but it can also be a hassle for parents. If you are the parent of a kid who strives to be “perfect," then you know all too well how much time your child spends making sure every bit of homework is complete, even if it means pulling an all-nighter. On the flip side, if you’re the parent of a child who decided that school ends when the last bell rings, then you know how exhausting that homework tug-of-war can be. And heaven forbid if you’re that parent who is at their wit's end because your child excels on tests and quizzes but fails to turn in assignments. The woes of academics can go well beyond the confines of the school building and right into the home.

This is the time of year when many students and parents feel the burden of the academic load. Following spring break, many schools across the nation head into the final stretch of the year. As a result, some teachers increase the amount of homework they give. The assignments aren’t punishment, although to students and parents who are having to constantly stay on top of their kids' schoolwork, they can sure seem that way.

From a teacher’s perspective, the assignments are meant to help students better understand the course content and prepare for upcoming exams. Some schools have state-mandated end of grade or final tests. In those states these tests can account for 20 percent of a student’s final grade. So teachers want to make sure that they cover the entire curriculum before that exam. Aside from state-mandated tests, some high school students are enrolled in advanced placement or international baccalaureate college-level courses that have final tests given a month or more before the end of the term. In order to cover all of the content, teachers must maintain an accelerated pace. All of this means more out of class assignments.

Given the challenges kids face, there are a few questions parents and educators should consider:

Is homework necessary?

Many teens may give a quick "no" to this question, but the verdict is still out. Research supports both sides of the argument. Personally, I would say, yes, some homework is necessary, but it must be purposeful. If it’s busy work, then it’s a waste of time. Homework should be a supplemental teaching tool. Too often, some youth go home completely lost as they haven’t grasped concepts covered in class and they may become frustrated and overwhelmed.

For a parent who has been in this situation, you know how frustrating this can be, especially if it’s a subject that you haven’t encountered in a while. Homework can serve a purpose such as improving grades, increasing test scores and instilling a good work ethic. Purposeful homework can come in the form of individualizing assignments based on students’ needs or helping students practice newly acquired skills.

Homework should not be used to extend class time to cover more material. If your child is constantly coming home having to learn the material before doing the assignments, then it’s time to contact the teacher and set up a conference. Listen when kids express their concerns (like if they say they're expected to know concepts not taught in class) as they will provide clues about what’s happening or not happening in the classroom. Plus, getting to the root of the problem can help with keeping the peace at home too, as an irritable and grumpy teen can disrupt harmonious family dynamics .

[Read: What Makes Teens 'Most Likely to Succeed?' ]

How much is too much?

According to the National PTA and the National Education Association, students should only be doing about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level. But teens are doing a lot more than that, according to a poll of high school students by the organization Statistic Brain . In that poll teens reported spending, on average, more than three hours on homework each school night, with 11th graders spending more time on homework than any other grade level. By contrast, some polls have shown that U.S. high school students report doing about seven hours of homework per week.

Much of a student's workload boils down to the courses they take (such as advanced or college prep classes), the teaching philosophy of educators and the student’s commitment to doing the work. Regardless, research has shown that doing more than two hours of homework per night does not benefit high school students. Having lots of homework to do every day makes it difficult for teens to have any downtime , let alone family time .

How do we respond to students' needs?

As an educator and parent, I can honestly say that oftentimes there is a mismatch in what teachers perceive as only taking 15 minutes and what really takes 45 minutes to complete. If you too find this to be the case, then reach out to your child's teacher and find out why the assignments are taking longer than anticipated for your child to complete.

Also, ask the teacher about whether faculty communicate regularly with one another about large upcoming assignments. Whether it’s setting up a shared school-wide assignment calendar or collaborating across curriculums during faculty meetings, educators need to discuss upcoming tests and projects, so students don’t end up with lots of assignments all competing for their attention and time at once. Inevitably, a student is going to get slammed occasionally, but if they have good rapport with their teachers, they will feel comfortable enough to reach out and see if alternative options are available. And as a parent, you can encourage your kid to have that dialogue with the teacher.

Often teens would rather blend into the class than stand out. That’s unfortunate because research has shown time and time again that positive teacher-student relationships are strong predictors of student engagement and achievement. By and large, most teachers appreciate students advocating for themselves and will go the extra mile to help them out.

Can there be a balance between home and school?

Students can strike a balance between school and home, but parents will have to help them find it. They need your guidance to learn how to better manage their time, get organized and prioritize tasks, which are all important life skills. Equally important is developing good study habits. Some students may need tutoring or coaching to help them learn new material or how to take notes and study. Also, don’t forget the importance of parent-teacher communication. Most educators want nothing more than for their students to succeed in their courses.

Learning should be fun, not mundane and cumbersome. Homework should only be given if its purposeful and in moderation. Equally important to homework is engaging in activities, socializing with friends and spending time with the family.

[See: 10 Concerns Parents Have About Their Kids' Health .]

Most adults don’t work a full-time job and then go home and do three more hours of work, and neither should your child. It's not easy learning to balance everything, especially if you're a teen. If your child is spending several hours on homework each night, don't hesitate to reach out to teachers and, if need be, school officials. Collectively, we can all work together to help our children de-stress and find the right balance between school and home.

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  3. How Much Homework Do You Get in College?

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  4. Homework: More Time on Task

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COMMENTS

  1. How Much Time Do College Students Spend on Homework

    In college, a good rule of thumb for homework estimates that for each college credit you take, you'll spend one hour in the classroom and two to three hours on homework each week. These homework tasks can include readings, working on assignments, or studying for exams. Based upon these estimates, a three-credit college class would require ...

  2. 11 Surprising Homework Statistics, Facts & Data (2024)

    Furthermore, 25% of parents spend more than 7 hours per week on their child's homework. American parents spend slightly below average at 6.2 hours per week, while Indian parents spend 12 hours per week and Japanese parents spend 2.6 hours per week. 5. Students in High-Performing High Schools Spend on Average 3.1 Hours per night Doing Homework

  3. Students spend three times longer on homework than average, survey

    A survey of approximately 200 Bellaire High School students revealed that some students spend over three times this number. The demographics of this survey included 34 freshmen, 43 sophomores, 54 juniors and 54 seniors on average. When asked how many hours students spent on homework in a day on average, answers ranged from zero to more than ...

  4. More than two hours of homework may be counterproductive, research

    Along with the survey data, Pope and her colleagues used open-ended answers to explore the students' views on homework. Median household income exceeded $90,000 in these communities, and 93 percent of the students went on to college, either two-year or four-year. Students in these schools average about 3.1 hours of homework each night.

  5. What You Need to Know About College Homework

    A typical semester would involve 5 different classes (each with 3 units), which means that a student would be doing an average of 45 hours of homework per week. That would equal to around 6 hours of homework a day, including weekends. That might seem overwhelming, but again: college homework is different from high school homework in that it ...

  6. Class-Time to Study-Time Ratio

    Unlike high school classes, college classes meet less often, and college students are expected to do more independent learning, homework, and studying. You might have heard that the ratio of classroom time to study time should be 1:2 or 1:3. This would mean that for every hour you spend in class, you should plan to spend two to three hours out ...

  7. How Much Homework is Too Much?

    A 2014 study found that, nationwide, college students self reported spending about 17 hours each week on homework, reading and assignments. Studies of high school students show that too much homework can produce diminishing returns on student learning, so finding the right balance can be difficult. There are no hard and fast rules about the ...

  8. Homework in America

    It was 6% in 1984. The amount of homework for 13-year-olds appears to have lightened slightly. Students with one to two hours of homework declined from 29% to 23%. The next category down (in terms ...

  9. Student Study Time Matters

    Some surveys suggest that the average amount of time that most high school students spend on homework is 4-5 hours/week. That's approximately 1 hour/day or 180 hours/year. So that puts the average time spent on class and homework combined at 1,260 hours/school year. Now let's look at college: Most semesters are approximately 15 weeks long.

  10. How much time should you spend studying? Our 'Goldilocks Day' tool

    A high school boy doing an extra ten hours of homework per school night is unlikely to improve his grades by 15 percentage points. ... there are only 24 hours in a day. Students can't devote ...

  11. A New Report Reveals That Homework in the United States is ...

    October 1, 2003. Two new reports debunk the notion that U.S. schoolchildren suffer from a growing homework load, with little time to play and just be kids. The great majority of students at all ...

  12. How Many Hours Do Students Spend on Homework?

    Research by Challenge Success found that high school students spend about 3 hours per day, meaning about 21 hours per week on homework. This number is obviously higher for college students. An article by Medium reported that college students might spend about 40 hours or more per week on assignments. These number doesn't include the hours ...

  13. Understanding and Estimating Instructional Time and Homework

    That is, if a course is worth three credits (about two and a half hours of instructional time), on average students should be doing approximately five hours of preparation and out-of-class assignments each week, for a total of seven and a half hours of time committed to that course. Rice University's Center for Teaching Excellence provides an ...

  14. "Homework" in College

    Share. Since coming to Harvard, I don't recall even once hearing the word "homework"—which is a pretty strange thing considering the role it played for the first 12 years of my education (spoiler alert: this doesn't mean that we don't have assignments and work to do). However, the type of work that's assigned in college is ...

  15. How much time is realistically spent on homework? : r/college

    The amount of time spent on homework varies for each person in college. Some spend 8+ hours a day, while others feel accomplished with 2-3 hours. To improve focus, try breaking your work into smaller chunks, find a conducive study environment, manage distractions, prioritize tasks, and take care of yourself.

  16. What's the Right Amount of Homework?

    The National PTA and the National Education Association support the " 10-minute homework guideline "—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students' needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

  17. Estimate Study Hours

    It's better to go a little slower and get better grades. Try to keep your work hours less than 20-25 hours per week. Try adding one more hour of study per day to begin with. This will increase your weekly total by 5 to 7 hours! Sources: Balduf, Megan (2009). "Underachievement Among College Students."

  18. How Many Hours Of Homework Do College Students Get?

    How much time do students spend on homework? High schoolers reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight, according to a study by the Washington Post from 2018 to 2020 of over 50,000 individuals. A survey of approximately 200 Bellaire High School students revealed that some students spend over three times this number.

  19. Average hours spent on homework per week and percentage of 9th- through

    NOTE: Data are based on the responses of the parent most knowledgeable about the student's education. Data exclude students who did not do homework outside of school; in 2007, parents reported that about 7 percent of 9th- through 12th-grade students did not do homework outside of school. Total includes other racial/ethnic groups not separately ...

  20. College Student Work Habits are Related to Physical Activity and

    A majority (55%) of students reported studying more than 2 hours/day, 51.8% were taking 16 or more credits in the current semester, 61% reported using more than two hours of social media per day, and 59% of the sample had a GPA equal to or greater than a 3.3.

  21. How Much Homework Is Too Much for Our Teens?

    In that poll teens reported spending, on average, more than three hours on homework each school night, with 11th graders spending more time on homework than any other grade level. By contrast ...

  22. How Many Hours Should You Work While In College?

    Most colleges and universities require 12 credit hours to be considered full-time. Anything less than that is considered a part-time student. Older and returning students tend to work full-time as ...

  23. Students Working Overtime: How Many Hours Can College Students ...

    Now let's do some math. With the 12.5 hours a week students are spending in class, the 20 hours worth of required reading, 10 hours of possible online class work, 10 hours of extra assignments ...