What Time of Day Do College Classes Start?

For a student that hasn’t been to college yet, who’s either used to the regimented schedule of high school or homeschooling, they may not be familiar with how college scheduling works, or even know what to expect when it comes to making a class schedule for college. They may not even know the range of options available for college classes in how and when they’re offered.

Most colleges have classes that start as early as 7 or 8AM, but in college, students select their own class schedules. While not all courses are available at all times of the day, students can generally select a start time that matches their preferences.

When it comes to college classes, there is a lot of variety in what classes you take, when you take them, and even where you take them. College students have a lot of flexibility and with the right planning, they can take advantage of these numerous options to make it so that school fits their needs, while also making it so that they get the most out of their time there.

Types of Classes Offered in the Morning

The kinds of classes offered earlier in the morning will depend on what major you’re looking to pursue, as well as what professors are willing to provide. Typically, classes with a lot of sections will go as early as 8 am and go as late as 4 pm or 5 pm. If your university offers exercise classes, some will start as early as 7 am and could go as late as 7 or 8 pm (though it’s rare to see them offered that late).

If you’re looking to sign up for a class with very few sections, there isn’t as much flexibility. Some will only offer classes during the day, such as 12 pm, 3 pm, etc., while some specialized classes may only offer a 7 am or 8 am class. If this is the case with your schedule, you have a few options to consider. First, ask around in your major and see if there even are options available. If there are, then maybe you can afford to wait to take the class later next new semester, where a new professor may suggest a different time. Depending on your university, you might even be able to take an online version of the class.

If there aren’t options however, you may just need to bite the bullet and attend the 7 am or 8 am class. Just make sure you’re prepared to do so—whether that’s going to bed early the night before, checking the bus schedule, or switching some things around in your schedule.

M/W/F versus Tu/Th

Something that high school or homeschool students might not be familiar with is the MWF and Tu/Th schedules that college students follow. Instead of having the same classes every day, you will sign up for classes that follow this type of format—though keep in mind that not every class is exactly the same.

Typically, a 3-credit class will either meet for 50 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Or, they’ll meet for 75 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. If it’s a 2-credit class, they’ll meet for 50 minutes on Monday and Wednesday, or 50 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. If it’s a 4-credit class, they’ll meet for 50 minutes Monday through Thursday., or for 2 hours twice during the week.

There are some exceptions to this, of course. Some 2- or 3-credit classes will meet for 2 to 3 hours on just one day of the week, sometimes in the mornings, but usually in the evenings. This is a great option if you want to bang out a class just once during the week, or if you have a big time slot to fill. In the end, it often depends on room scheduling and professor availability.

Reasons College Students Don’t Like Morning Classes

Just like many people, the majority of college students aren’t a fan of doing things in the morning. But almost more than any other group of people, college students have a particularly harder time getting up for morning activities. That is because they have to combine work, school, and a social network (at a time in life where who you know will play a huge role in what you do for the rest of your life) all at the same time, while also trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives.

So, that means that most college students are up very late at night either studying, hanging out with friends, doing study groups, writing essays, doing on-campus activities, or even pulling all-nighters just so that they have enough time to get everything else done.

With all this on their plate, it’s no wonder that it can be difficult to get up for a 7 am class. That’s why many students prefer classes that start around 9, 10, or even 12. And for some students that decide to schedule their first class of the day to be at noon, they might intentionally do so because they study better in the morning and are able to be more productive at that time.

Additionally, some college students will prefer to schedule afternoon or evening classes so that they’ll be able to work in the mornings. Since there’s so much flexibility when it comes to availability for college classes, it makes sense to fit them around the more rigid work times.

Ultimately, When Your Day Starts Is up to You

When it comes to making a class schedule, there is no right way to plan it all out. Every semester will be different, so stay flexible and open to adjustments as you take classes, work, and make connections with professors and classmates. If you like taking classes at 7 am and getting your classes out of the way in the mornings, then do it. If you prefer to take classes in the afternoon and the evening, then do it. If you prefer to spread our your classes evenly throughout the day, then do it.

It is completely up to you how you take advantage of your time in college, so make sure to not waste it and grow in potential, education, and connections.