Monday, May 28, 2012

How Much Do College Students Study?

At many colleges, not much. How will students used to an easy schedule cope with the demands of law school? The Washington Post conducted a survey:

Tradition suggests that college students should invest two hours in study for every hour of classes. The reality — that students miss that goal by half — emerged from the National Survey of Student Engagement, a research tool for colleges that examines the modern student in unprecedented detail.

The survey, first published in 2000, queries freshmen and seniors. It reveals that study time can vary widely by college and by major. Architecture majors, for example, study 24 hours a week, while marketing majors put in only 12.

At Sweet Briar College, a private women’s school in Virginia, students reported 19 hours of study in an average week. Weekly study among seniors averaged 18 hours at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, 17 hours at the College of William and Mary, 16 at the universities of Maryland and Virginia and Catholic University, 15 at American University and 13 at Howard University.

Some majors seem to require more study time than other majors:

Architecture students studied the most, at 24 hours a week. Further down the list, in descending order: physics (20 hours), music and biology (17), history (15), psychology (14), communications (13) and, at 11 hours, parks, recreation and leisure studies.

Here is another article from the Post spotlighting colleges where students put in serious study time.


| Permalink


Several years ago, or more, I wrote an essay for our school's now-defunct newsletter and addressed the question of how much time law students should invest in out-of-class study. I polled my colleagues, almost all replied, and all pretty much offered the same 3-for-1 that I had been told as a student. At the beginning of each of my classes I tell my students that they need at least that much time for preparation and assimilation (and go into detail as to what they need to be doing). Some students put in this much work, some put in more, and the ones who put in less or want to put in less have avoided my courses. A few complain, some, I think, not so much to gripe but to get some sort of affirmation or attention. Many will express surprise that, one, I was correct in predicting the amount of work they need to do and, two, that the course cannot be mastered at the requisite level without this work. The tougher issue is how to get students to invest this time. The answer? Formative assessment that counts in the course grade. That approach has many other benefits as well. Another even tougher set of questions is why do undergraduate schools require insufficient work, and how can they be convinced to step their students up to the level that employers and graduate schools need them to attain? It's not as though the students in other countries to whom work is being outsourced are slackers.

Posted by: Jim Maule | May 29, 2012 6:43:36 AM

Post a comment