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In my last post, I wrote about the temptation of doubling up on classes to try and finish a degree faster. In that post, I wrote about how doing so may lead to lower grades because it takes time to do A-quality work.

If you missed that post, you can read it here at Don’t Overload Yourself!

Today, I want to mention another thing to consider before committing to doubling up on your classes.

There are many reasons why people want to earn a degree. Two of the reasons are to obtain the credentials that come with having a degree and the knowledge you learn in the process.

As a former recruiter for Fortune 500 companies, I understand the importance of having a degree. Even for jobs that do not require a degree, it is one of those things that recruiters use to narrow down the pool of candidates applying for a position.

In fact, one of the reasons I went back to college to complete my degree was for that very reason. I wanted to get into management, and even though I had all the qualifications and experience needed, the fact that I did not have a degree prevented my resume from getting noticed. I did not have the credentials necessary to get past the screening process.

But I digress…

Another reason why you may want to reconsider doubling up on your classes is also about time. But it is not about the time it takes to do your homework, but about the time required to learn the subject you are studying.

When a student has limited time to do their homework, they often cut corners to keep up with the course requirements and due dates. One of the cuts many are tempted to take is reflecting on what you are studying. If you are overloaded, you have limited time to digest everything that they are reading and studying. It takes time to process information and understand how it applies to different situations.

As I wrote in my book, Online College Success, which will be out in a few weeks, it takes time to read and process information to understand it enough to apply it to your assignments. (I wrote about this in chapter 9.) If you are simply going through the motion of doing your homework just to get it done, you are only checking off the requirements each week; not learning it and fully understanding it.

Some of you may have the ability to read several chapters in your textbook, and then sit down and write a three to five-page paper all in one sitting. But I am guessing that most of you (including me!) do not.

It takes time to read and process the information so that it makes sense to you. I call this pondering. After I read something, I like to ponder on it and think it through. Once I have had time to process and reflect on the information, then I am ready to sit down and apply it to the assignment.

Taking time not only applies to writing papers, but to writing a response to a discussion question, too.

If you are cutting corners, you may be robbing yourself of the education in which you are investing time and money. (For further thoughts on this, read our blog on valuing the cost of your education.)

So, again, if you are considering doubling up on your course-work, think about the time that it will take. Will you have the time to reflect on your studies and learn all there is about the subject, or will you be just checking off a to-do list of assignments?

Let me leave you with one final thought: When you complete your degree, you will have the credential that says you know the subject matter of the degree. Well, that means you need to know the subject, not just say you do.