Time Management, Working, and Financial Aid

These options are not official in any regard. They are provided for qualitative guidance only. They are my opinions only.

Fred L. Terry, Jr.
January 14, 2006

  1. Time Management
    As a student in a challenging academic program, you should be careful as to how you spend your time. Be realistic in your time management. Remember, a week only has 168 hours in it, no matter what! I suggest the rough following guidelines:

    1. Assume a factor of 4 times the credit hour rating for the time each class really takes out of your week (i.e. a 4 cr. hr. class takes 16 real hours per week). Maybe the number will really be lower, but don’t count on it until you have a good reason to estimate lower. Remember, if you really get stuck on an assignment or have other tough times with a class, this number could go way up.
    2. Budget 8 hours/night for sleep. You may not get this much for a variety of reasons (good and otherwise), but if you don’t budget this much time, then you will not even get close to this number. Sometimes you will use this cushion for emergencies.
    3. Include realistic travel time estimates (busing back and forth between campuses, travel from your housing, etc.)
    4. Budget time for life-maintenance issues (baths, necessary shopping, going to to dining halls and/or cooking, cleaning, etc.) How much time this takes is situation dependent. Almost everyone underestimates this factor. If you don’t know, start with 2 hours/day as a guess.
    5. Try to include a little relaxation time in your budget. You are going to take it anyway. Try a budget of 2 hours/day. Remember, this includes all your routine TV watching, recreational reading, web-surfing, talking with friends, etc. Include some physical exercise in your plan. It’s good for both physical and mental health.
    6. Don’t forget weekends. If you basically take a day off for fun, life maintenance, religious observances, etc., be honest and include that time.

You may be able to do better than some of my rough estimates, but remember that no one is a superhuman machine. Try to be honest about what you are really doing.

So as an example, let’s assume a day off per week, a 12 credit hour class load and the rough numbers I have above.This leaves only 12 hours/week unaccounted for! If you are spending more hours per week than this on a job or an extracurricular activity, your grades will almost certainly suffer as a direct result. The 1st thing that is likely to suffer is sleep. No one does well if they are seriously sleep deprived.

  1. Working
    Many students work to financially make it through school. This is often necessary and fine, but you have to keep things balanced. Make an honest time budget as well as a financial one. If you job involves late night hours, this alone may cause trouble even if the hours are not excessive. Remember, even if you need the money for school, it makes no sense to work so much that you get into academic trouble!
  1. Financial Aid
    If are in real need, the College and University are good at trying to help. In particular, if you find that you need to work too many hours/bad hours just to make it, then you really should seek help. Don’t expect help if you are trying to “live large” as a student (i.e. spend to much), but if you really need help, ASK! Start with the CoE. Go see:

Jeanne Murabito
Managing Director of Undergraduate Education
Academic Support Services
1011 LEC
murabito@umich.edu
Phone: 647-7098

or one of Jeanne’s staff. They are very nice, helpful people. Again, don’t waste their time with frivolous requests, but don’t hesitate to ask if you really need help.

  1. Merit-based Scholarships
    EE students seem to be very bad about not applying for merit-based scholarships. Make your parents happy, save yourself some money and/or student loan debt, and give it a shot. If you win, it looks good on you resume too! Check out the opportunities at:
    http://www.engin.umich.edu/students/scholarships/calendar/
    Also, pay attention to e-mails on scholarships that come from the EECS UG Advising Office and other sources.