It’s registration time. Once again we brave Albert to juggle class swaps, send frantic emails to advisers, and work around impossible schedule demands. And once again, everyone has (or is) That One Friend with three waitlisted classes, who is panicking at the prospect of taking too few credits.
So what’s the deal with required credits? At what point is a student only part-time? What is part-time study, anyway?
The simple answer is that anyone taking fewer than twelve credits is considered a part-time student. With the four-credit classes typical of most NYU schools, this amounts to taking only two classes during a semester. But before you run off to plan your ultra-relaxed, part-time semester, consider this:
Save it for your senior year: If you aren’t a second-semester senior, part-time enrollment puts serious limitations on your schedule. While this semester may be easy, you’ll lose flexibility in those that follow, reducing the time in which you can spontaneously change majors, fail, or take that weird Tisch elective.
Know the cost: If you’re hoping to save money by avoiding full-time tuition fees, keep a calculator handy. You’ll be paying per credit—cheaper than tuition if you’re taking fewer than twelve credits—but your grants and loans are subject to change. “Full-time student” is the first criterion listed in NYU’s guide on who can receive financial aid. And while some part-time students have negotiated to keep their aid, others find themselves losing scholarships.
In the end, it pays to know what each credit costs in your school. During the 2012-2013 school year, Tisch students pay $1,411 per credit, and Stern students pay $1,216 per credit, while students from all other schools pay $1,204 per credit. We don’t know what Stern is doing with those extra $12, but make sure you know what your part-time study will cost you.
Find new housing (and maybe a new gym): NYU housing is only available to full-time students, bad news for the few who’d hoped to lounge in a dorm all day. Theoretically the gyms are open to all students taking three or more credits, but past part-time students have reported difficulty swiping into the facilities.
So if you’ve done your planning and know you can take it easy this semester, enjoy yourself. Just know that as we cram eighteen credits into our schedules, we will be secretly, eternally jealous.