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Overstressed, overloaded, over 18 credits

Wheaton College requires its undergraduate students to earn at least 124 credits in order to graduate. This translates to students having to take 15.5 credits a semester in order to graduate on time, but some students find themselves with a credit load well beyond that average.
For most students, taking over 18 credits a semester is out of the question financially because each additional credit hour costs $915. But many students also have extracurricular commitments that take up as much time as adding an additional class per week, prohibiting them from taking more than 18 hours.
For art majors, taking 19 credits is more commonplace because many art classes clock in at three credits. At the same time, anyone taking 19 credits because of a three-credit art class pays for that extra one credit hour — most classes are two or four hours, which can add up nicely to a maximum of 18 credit hours. Meanwhile, students who are in a one-credit ensemble class also often end up taking an uneven number of credits like 19, but they don’t pay for this surplus of credits.
According to the registrar’s office, there are currently 16 students who are taking 20 credit hours. No students are taking more than that.
Two of those students are sophomores Alex Prus and Jeffrey Leeburn. On top of his course load of 20 credits, Prus is a summer ministry participant and the director of the Chicago Evangelism Team. He is in the accelerated master of arts in teaching program.
Wheaton College Graduate School offers two master of arts in teaching programs: the elementary license and the secondary license. Both are available to undergraduates as well as those who have graduated from another four-year college or university. Wheaton undergraduates also have the option of taking either program as an accelerated master’s degree, allowing them to finish a bachelor’s degree and master’s in teaching in five years.
However, Prus is looking to finish both his degrees in just four years. “It puts a lot of stress on other parts of my life,” said Prus. But he ultimately sees it as worth it in end because, simply put, “grad school is expensive.”
Leeburn is a geology major looking to take a geophysics course from professor of geology James Clark. Leeburn’s options on when to take the class are limited, especially because Clark plans to retire next year.
Leeburn described his mentors and advisor as being “cautiously encouraging” in his plans for taking such a heavy course load. Leeburn assures he is “not stressed all the time, just most of the time.” Organization and discipline will be key strategies for him as plans to tackle 20 credits this B-quad.
In order to be considered a full time student, a person must take at least 12 credits a semester. Wheaton College undergraduate tuition costs are $17,025 per semester or $34,050 per year for a student taking 12–18 credits.

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