average program length

Average credits required, average earning potential, opportunities with a bsn, good career mobility, path to advancement, job potential, skills learned.

A smiling mid-adult African American nursing student is sitting in class with her colleagues. She has short, curly black hair, and is wearing teal green scrubs. Her laptop and notepad are open so she is ready to take notes during class. She is looking directly at the camera.

Image: SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

What To Expect From a Traditional BSN Program

While curriculum content and timelines vary by program, the University of Washington’s (UW) BSN program offers a general idea of the traditional, four-year nursing school progression during each year of study. BSN students typically spend the first two years completing prerequisite coursework and their final two years immersed in their nursing studies.

Applicants begin with prerequisite coursework. UW’s School of Nursing, for example, requires 90 quarter credit hours, with a 2.0 cumulative GPA and at least a 2.0 in each course. Students might also consider volunteer work at a hospital or healthcare facility during their first two years to gain experience and augment their applications.

Sample Year One Courses:

  • English composition
  • Mathematics: algebra with applications, precalculus, calculus with analytic geometry
  • Philosophy: practical reasoning or introduction to logic
  • Principles of chemistry
  • Statistical reasoning or elements of statistical methods
  • Survey of physiology and elementary physiology lab
  • Visual, literary, and performing arts classes

During their second year, students complete their remaining prerequisite coursework and apply to nursing schools . Candidates must have enough time to order transcripts, arrange for recommendation letters, and write personal statements. Some four-year nursing programs require an entrance exam ( HESI or the Test of Essential Academic Skills ), which requires preparation, as well. Students should also plan to prepare for nursing program interviews , if required.

Sample Year Two Courses:

  • Accelerated (honors) calculus
  • Chemistry covering general, organic, and biochemistry
  • Intermediate logic
  • Introduction to probability and statistics
  • General microbiology with lab
  • Growth and development through the lifespan
  • Literature and medicine
  • Preparing for college writing

Once students begin nursing school, their workloads increase and intensify. Four-year nursing schools usually discourage employment during the final two years of BSN programs, due to the full slate of nursing coursework , labs, seminars, and practicum hours focusing on clinical practice and specific patient populations. We’ve compiled the following course lists from the UW School of Nursing .

Sample Year Three Courses:

  • Health assessments
  • Healthcare systems and policy
  • Health equity
  • Foundational skills for professional nurses
  • Foundations in pharmacotherapeutics and pathophysiology
  • Fundamentals of nursing practice for illness care
  • Introduction to research
  • Populations health through community health nursing partnerships

The fourth year typically includes classes at least three days a week, one 6-8-hour day of clinical work, and a significant amount of homework. In general, for every credit hour of coursework, learners should expect a minimum of two hours spent reading, writing, and studying. In addition, students must look ahead to their NCLEX-RN licensure exam and begin preparing at least six months before their test date.

Sample Year Four Courses:

  • Ambulatory care
  • Care coordination and case management
  • Child health
  • Informatics, patient safety, and quality improvement
  • Foundations of interprofessional practice
  • Nursing care of childbearing families
  • Psychosocial nursing in health and illness
  • Transition to professional practice

Admission Requirements for a Traditional BSN Program

Four-year nursing programs maintain distinct application requirements and timelines, but a program beginning in the fall typically sets a January or February deadline to apply. Students should begin assembling their application materials early, particularly if the program requires test scores. Common admission requirements for four-year BSN programs include the following:

Traditional BSN vs. Bridge Programs

As opposed to traditional BSN programs , bridge programs serve nurses who already possess RN or licensed practical nurse licenses. Bridge programs commonly offer online and full-time or part-time options that provide flexibility for working nurses.

They can also streamline the process of earning separate degrees. For example, an RN with an ADN can pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) via an RN-to-MSN bridge program to bypass the four-year traditional BSN. RN-to-BSN bridge programs online allow RNs with ADNs or nursing diplomas to earn their BSNs in 18-24 months of full-time study.

Traditional BSN vs. Accelerated BSN Programs

Accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs enable applicants with bachelor’s degrees in non-nursing fields to transfer undergraduate credits and fulfill general education and prerequisite coursework requirements. ABSNs allow some students to finish in 1-2 years.

Many programs only accept applications from candidates with GPAs of 3.0 or higher. The full-time, compressed nature of the ABSN curriculum makes it quite rigorous. Other admission requirements mirror those of four-year BSN programs . At some nursing schools, ABSN students can take classes online and complete their clinical hours at hospitals and medical facilities near their homes.

Featured BSN Specialties

Beyond working in hospitals as RNs, individuals with a BSN degree find careers as geriatric nurses, OBGYN nurses, and neonatal nurses. Check out the descriptions below to learn more about these specialty occupations.

Registered Nurse

Geriatric nurse, obgyn nurse, travel nurse, neonatal nurse, how much will i make with a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

$32.62* Average Hourly Pay

$85,700* Average Salary

*SOURCE: PayScale.com

Explore BSN Programs

Reviewed by:.

Portrait of Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW

Elizabeth Clarke, FNP, MSN, RN, MSSW

Elizabeth Clarke (Poon) is a board-certified family nurse practitioner who provides primary and urgent care to pediatric populations. She earned a BSN and MSN from the University of Miami.

Clarke is a paid member of our Healthcare Review Partner Network. Learn more about our review partners .


If you buy through our link, we may earn a commission. An ad doesn’t mean we endorse that company or product. Advertising supports our mission to serve nursing students. Learn More .

How to Go to Nursing School and Work Full Time: 10 Effective Strategies for Success


A significant number of nursing students, around 25%, manage their studies alongside part-time employment, while a few even manage to work full-time .

Though it might be a difficult feat, following certain strategies can help you effectively balance your academic and professional life, ensuring that neither aspect suffers due to the demands of the other.

Can You Attend Nursing School While Working Full-Time?

Many people have successfully balanced both working full-time and attending nursing school, primarily due to determination, a solid support system and honed organizational skills. Enrolling in a school offering flexible study plans can make this challenge more manageable.

When considering working while pursuing a nursing degree, consider the following factors:

  • Motivation : Stay committed to both your job and nursing school.
  • Support system : Surround yourself with those who encourage and support your goals.
  • Organizational skills : Maintain a structured schedule to manage time effectively.
  • Flexible nursing school : Choose a school with a flexible study plan to accommodate your work hours.

What You Need to Attend Nursing School While Working Full-Time

1. maintain a positive outlook.

To handle a hectic schedule, adopting and maintaining a positive attitude is vital. Along with determination and hard work, believe in your ability to juggle work and attending nursing school.

2. Build a Strong Support Network

Having a supportive group of people is crucial if you’re responsible for caring for a child or other dependent family members.

This network may consist of your family, friends, or even community members who provide the necessary help during your journey.

3. Identify an Effective Study Space

Find a quiet area where you can focus on your studies. This could be at home, a public library, or even a local coffee shop.

Consider your learning style and external distractions when choosing the right study area.

4. Create a Realistic Budget

If your expenses are not out of control, then ideally, you don’t have to work as much during school.

Develop a financial plan to cover daily expenses and tuition fees when pursuing your nursing education.

Assess your spending habits and consider making adjustments to save money.

Using a digital budgeting tool can help you stay on track and monitor your financial progress.

5. Use an Organizational Planner

To manage your work and school responsibilities effectively, consider using a planner. This can be a digital or paper-based system.

A mobile calendar app can provide notifications and reminders, while a physical planner like the ones from Blue Sky or Clever Fox allows for hands-on organization.

Blue Sky Weekly and Monthly Planner

  • January 2024 – December 2024 chic day planner with 12 months of monthly and weekly pages for easy…
  • Monthly view pages contain previous and next month reference calendars for long-term planning, and a…
  • Weekly view pages offer ample lined writing space for more detailed planning, allowing you to keep…

Steps to Succeed at Attending Nursing School While Working Full-Time

1. look for a flexible job.

Begin by securing a job that allows for a flexible schedule, as it will influence your nursing school timetable.

Work with your supervisor to obtain necessary schedule adjustments, or consider seeking new employment that is more compatible with your academic commitments.

2. Opt for a Nursing-Related Job

When searching for a new job, consider one that aligns with the nursing field.

This provides you with valuable hands-on experience and enhances your nursing resume.

Positions such as certified nursing assistants or phlebotomists in hospitals and nursing homes are worth considering.

The other nice perk of jobs like this is that they tend to be accommodating to the schedules of a nursing student.

The other nice thing about jobs like this is that they tend to be accommodating to the schedules of a nursing student.

3. Select a Nursing School Offering Flexible Programs

It’s beneficial to choose a nursing school that offers flexible study plans to accommodate job hours.

Many schools provide evening classes or online courses, which can be a great fit for those working full-time.

Another option is attending nursing school part-time while working full-time, although this extends your education period.

4. Develop a Daily and Weekly Routine for Work and Study

Planning is crucial for handling both work and school commitments.

Create a schedule that includes work, lectures, homework, study sessions, and personal responsibilities.

Start by organizing your activities in smaller time blocks and eventually transition to a weekly planner.

5. Establish a Dedicated Study Area

Preparing a conducive study space is essential for productivity.

This may include a comfortable chair, desk, adequate lighting, and other items that help you focus, such as headphones, a laptop, or calming music.

6. Organize and Engage with Your Support Network

Assemble a support system to help with childcare and household chores, allowing you to manage your busy schedule.

Discuss time expectations, create a master calendar, and ensure clear communication with friends and family members who serve as your support network.

7. Set Achievable Goals

Maintaining realistic expectations while juggling two full-time commitments is vital.

Focus on achievable goals and celebrate your accomplishments. Understand that perfection is not the goal during this period.

8. Maintain Your Financial Plan

Sticking to your budget is key to financial success.

Make room for unexpected expenses by having an emergency fund to help you stay on track with your financial goals.

9. Embrace Healthy Habits

Taking care of yourself is essential, so prioritize a healthy lifestyle.

Incorporate nutritious meals, regular exercise, and enough sleep into your routine. Engage in activities that help you unwind and recharge.

10. Seek Assistance When Necessary

Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your support system, colleagues, or professors.

Embrace the fact that during this busy phase in your life, you may need to rely more on the assistance of others.

Be open to their advice and input to help you overcome challenges and achieve your goals.

Have You Read These Yet?

  • Should a Nursing Student Take the CNA Exam?

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can attend nursing school part-time while working. Many nursing schools offer flexible study plans that can accommodate your work schedule.

To balance full-time work and nursing school, consider the following tips:

  • Choose a job with flexibility ; opt for positions that allow shift adjustments or provide a supportive environment for students.
  • Look for a nursing school with a flexible study plan.
  • Create a daily and weekly plan for working and studying; establish a routine that includes dedicated study time and self-care.
  • Develop a support system of family, friends, or colleagues who can provide encouragement and assistance when needed.

Accelerated nursing programs are known for their intensive and fast-paced coursework, which can be challenging for full-time workers. Although I’ve spoken to nursing students who worked side jobs in these programs, I have yet to come across anyone who managed to work full-time while attending an accelerated nursing program.

Strategies that can help you manage work and nursing school include:

  • Prioritizing tasks by determining what is essential and focusing on those tasks first.
  • Setting realistic goals ; don’t overextend yourself, and be prepared to adjust your expectations as needed.
  • Taking advantage of networking opportunities provided by both your job and nursing school.

To survive financially while attending nursing school and working, consider these tips:

  • Work in a healthcare-related job that meshes well with nursing, as it may provide relevant experience and networking opportunities.
  • Look for scholarships, grants, or loans that can assist in covering the cost of nursing school.
  • Create a budget and track your expenses to ensure you are managing your funds effectively.
  • Consider cutting non-essential expenses to save money during your time in nursing school.

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  • Pre-Nursing
  • Nursing School
  • After Graduation

24 Nursing School Tips for Your First Year and Beyond

Two pretty young female diverse nursing students sharing nursing school tips

Throughout nursing school, you’re busy and have many, many things to juggle. Gathering and implementing nursing school tips can help make the school year go more smoothly.

It’s no secret that nursing students face many challenges, from the long hours spent studying to the high cost of tuition. Courses and exams can be overwhelming, but necessary in going toward the next step in your future nursing career.

It’s a lot of work and a lot of pressure — but you’ve got this! After you make it through nursing school, you’ll officially be a nurse professional.

how much homework in nursing school

We have nursing school tips for those going into their first year, and for those finishing out their degrees.

Tips for Nursing Students’ First Year

When you’re starting as a nursing student, everyone tells you that the first year is the hardest. They say it’s full of sleepless nights, long hours, and possibly some tears. 

But there are ways to make your first year less stressful, easier to pass, and maybe even more enjoyable. So let’s start our list of twenty-four tips to help you get off on the right foot in your first year of nursing school:

  • Know your learning style. Find out how you learn best, and use it as a tool to help you succeed in school.
  • Ask plenty of questions. Most instructors are more than happy to help you with questions, so don’t be afraid to approach them.
  • Complete pre-class prep (if available). Whether it’s required or not, complete reading and assignments before class starts so you can focus more on the lecture itself.
  • Take advantage of all resources available. Since you’re already paying tuition, put your hands on every school resource you can get, such as job boards, recorded lectures, the cafeteria, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to use outside learning resources. Using learning resources outside of school can help by giving different strategies and testing tools to pass your classes and exams.

Find out how our learning resources stack up with others .

  • S pecific – Exactly what goals can you meet? Which steps do they require?
  • M easurable – What kind of data will you use to gauge success and in which amounts?
  • A chievable – How are your goals attainable? Do you have the required tools and resources for them?
  • R elevant – How do your goals fit in with your curriculum? 
  • T ime-bound – What’s the projected timeline for achieving your goals?
  • Have a sound support system. Ask friends or family members if they would be willing to help you out, especially when things get tough for you.
  • Make friends with other nursing students. You’ll be spending a lot of time together, possibly for more than a year. Having friends will make nursing school much more bearable.

How long do you have to be in nursing school for your degree? Find out here .

Study Tips for Nursing Students

It’s not just about knowing how to study. You need to understand how to approach studying, when to study, and how much time you can spend studying.

To continue our list, check out these study tips:

  • Use study guides.  They give you an overview of what’s covered on tests and quizzes, so you know what kinds of questions they’ll ask. Study guides also help you organize your notes so you can always access them.
  • Study a little every day. When you maximize your study time with an even pace, information can stick in your brain much better come exam time.
  • Form or participate in a study group. Studying in groups can make learning easier and give you different perspectives on how certain concepts relate together.
  • Use your downtime as study time. We know that most students don’t want to spend their precious free time studying. But if you want to succeed in nursing school, it’s important that you make it a priority and squeeze in some time off-campus.
  • Use nursing mnemonic devices . Mnemonics are little tricks that help with memory retention by associating new information with things that are already familiar and easy to remember.
  • Complete practice questions. Practice questions help you understand where you’re lacking subject-wise and avoid stumbling on exams. 
  • Review the information learned after class. Take at least five minutes after class is over to review what you’ve learned while lectures are still fresh in your mind.
  • Don’t use cramming as your sole study method. It may be tempting to rely on cramming right before exams to free up your spare time, but spending time each day to study will ensure exam success. 

Taking exit exams soon? Check out our NCLEX Cram Sheet here .

General Nursing School Tips

Here are some other tips for your nursing school term, regardless of what year you’re in:

  • Get organized. This goes for your school supplies (laptop, notebooks, equipment, etc.), your time, and your study area (if you have one).
  • Master your time management. Time will be your most valuable resource throughout the school year, so managing your day-to-day as best possible is crucial.
  • Keep a calendar and schedule. You can use tools like Evernote, Google Calendar, or a planner so you always know what’s coming up next (in the week, month, etc.).  
  • Give yourself breaks. Take a break if you ever feel overwhelmed with schoolwork or like things aren’t going well. It’ll help clear your head and give you perspective on what needs more attention.

  • Find activities to do outside of school. Finding things to do outside school, like volunteering or pursuing hobbies, can also give your mind a break from nursing school stress.
  • Develop good sleep habits. Getting enough sleep is important because it helps your brain function properly and keeps your body from getting tired during long shifts at work or school. 
  • Get to know your instructors. They’re great sources of medical knowledge, and can help guide you through your nursing education.
  • Maximize your clinical experiences. Clinicals get you hands-on experience for your future nursing career. Learning as much as possible during your clinicals can set you ahead after graduation.

Hopefully, these tips can help you get through your classes and exams with ease.

Other Nursing School FAQs

We’re answering some of the most pressing questions from nursing students wanting to get through nursing school unscathed:

How Do Students Fail Nursing School?

Some nursing students fail nursing school because they don’t study (or don’t know how to study effectively). Failing exams, not doing homework, or skipping labs and clinicals also result in failing out. But some other reasons (that aren’t talked about as much) include:

  • Falling too far behind 
  • Stress stacking up 
  • Losing passion for nursing 
  • Insufficient funding
  • Support systems falling apart

Something else to consider is that many nursing school classes are graded on a curve. So if you’re in a class of students that consistently score high, your ‘A’ and ‘B’ scores could still bring you to the bottom of the class. And for a lot of students, it could be enough to fail. 

That’s why it’s so important to build a report with instructors and understand how to stand out in the class.

How Do Nursing Students Learn Best?

Nursing students can learn best when they’re actively engaged in class and relaxed outside the classroom. So instead of just reading your textbook, try to use what you’re learning in your clinicals and lectures.

And if you want to take a learning approach based on the senses: 

  • Visual learners prefer pictures and diagrams. 
  • Auditory learners prefer lectures and audio recordings.
  • Kinesthetic learners prefer hands-on experiences.

How Should A Nursing Student Study?

There are several effective approaches to studying, and none are completely wrong. Just make sure that you understand exactly what you’re trying to learn, as it can be easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the big picture.

how much homework in nursing school

If you have trouble with covering entire subjects, try breaking up your study sessions into smaller chunks and focusing on only one piece of the subject at a time. This will help keep things more manageable and less overwhelming.

Want More Than Nursing School Tips?

What will help you get through a nursing school year (whether it’s your first year or not) is investing in an effective resource. 

Gathering and going through with nursing school tips can help make your next school year go more smoothly.

SimpleNursing has everything you need before you step into class, during your lecture, for your study time, and after graduation for your NCLEX. You can read over our study guides, take quizzes with video rationales, and focus on any subject.

Start off your nursing school term with a free trial today .

Want to ace Nursing School Exams & the NCLEX?

Make topics click with easy-to-understand videos & more. We've helped over 1,000,000 students & we can help you too.

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how much homework in nursing school

Nursing School and Working Full-Time: How to Conquer

how much homework in nursing school

Are you considering going to nursing school but worried about balancing school and work? If so, you are not alone. Perhaps you have asked if there is a way to know how to conquer nursing school while working full-time? Nursing school is a big responsibility, but it doesn’t pay the bills. If you are serious about earning a nursing degree but need to continue working, you will find the information in this article helpful. As you continue reading, you will find 20 tips to help you successfully conquer nursing school while working full-time and learn the benefits and drawbacks of working while in nursing school.

Can You Work Full-Time While In Nursing School?

How hard is juggling nursing school and working full-time, 5 benefits of working full-time while in nursing school, 1. you can take advantage of networking opportunities., 2. less worry about bills piling up., 3. more experience to add to your professional resume:, 4. you may be able to pay off student loans sooner., 5. if you have a steady income while in nursing school, you may not need student loans., 5 drawbacks of working full-time while in nursing school, 1. how many hours are there in a day, 2. your work and school schedules may not align well., 3. you may become distracted from school by work responsibilities., 4. some relationships may become strained., 5. your health can be compromised., how to conquer nursing school while working full-time, 1. have a reliable support system., 2. create a designated study space., 3. be aware of your natural skills and tendencies and use them to your advantage., 4. learn to prioritize organization., 5. get rid of life’s clutter., 6. set goals., 7. celebrate every accomplishment., 8. meal prep., 9. create a budget and stick with it., 11. exercise., 12. eat a healthy diet., 13. find ways to merge nursing school and work interests and responsibilities., 14. do not procrastinate., 15. plan your downtime., 16. ask for help when you need it., 17. keep open communication with your employer., 18. be honest with yourself about what you can handle., 19. consider taking online classes., 20. find a job with a flexible work schedule., what are the most convenient full-time jobs for nursing students, 1. phlebotomist:, 2. ward clerk:, 3. hospital transport:, 4. certified nursing assistant:, 6. personal care attendant:, 7. call center representative:, 8. virtual assistant:, 9. sales associate:, 10. social media manager:, what does a typical day look like for a student attending nursing school and working full time, my final thoughts, frequently asked questions answered by our expert, 1. as a nursing student, will my school help me find a full-time job, 2. what is the best shift to work while in nursing school, 3. typically, how many hours can i work while in nursing school, 4. can i work full-time while attending a fast-track nursing program, 5. can i work full-time in my first semester of nursing school, 6. can i work full-time in my last semester of nursing school, 7. as a pregnant nursing student, is it a good idea to work full-time while in nursing school, 8. being a single mother, will i be able to manage working full-time while in nursing school.

how much homework in nursing school

  • Our Mission

Adolescent girl doing homework.

What’s the Right Amount of Homework?

Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.

Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.

The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.

The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.

However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.

Small Benefits for Elementary Students

As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).

For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.

Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students

As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).

There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”

In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :

  • How long will it take to complete?
  • Have all learners been considered?
  • Will an assignment encourage future success?
  • Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
  • Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?

More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well

By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).

Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.

Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.

Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.

Parents Play a Key Role

Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.

But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.


How to Go to Nursing School and Work Full-Time

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In today’s economic environment, it is not always possible to attend nursing school without a steady source of income.

Approximately 25% of students work at least part-time, and a few students take on full-time hours.

Although this may not be easy, it is possible by following these tips.

Can You Attend Nursing School While Working Full-Time?

While numerous former nursing students will tell you that nursing school alone is a full-time job, plenty of others will tell you that juggling work and nursing school simultaneously is possible if you have the motivation, support system, and organizational skills for it.

If you have a flexible school schedule, it will be even easier to work and go to school full-time.

What You Need to Attend Nursing School While Working Full-Time

Holding down two full-time schedules is certainly not for everyone. However, this does not mean that it is an impossible dream.

Instead, with the right attitude and the proper daily systems in place, you can successfully prepare for a new career while still supporting yourself and any dependents.

1. The Right Attitude

First, you will need the right attitude to make your newly busy schedule work. Plan on bringing a positive attitude, persistence, confidence and a desire for hard work.

2. A Good Support System

Second, be sure that you have a support system nearby, especially if you also care for a child or another dependent family member.

Your support system could include family and friends that live in your area, or you may want to consider neighbors or others that you know in your community.

3. A good Study Place

Third, you will need a quiet time and place for studying . This could look different for everyone, but some ideas include your kitchen, living room, local library or coffee shop.

4. A Good Budget

Fourth, you must create a budget to ensure that you will be bringing in enough money to cover your everyday needs along with tuition.

Creating an initial budget can be scary as you may find some shortfalls in your income or discover that you need to trim some unnecessary expenses.

However, a budget will give you power along with peace of mind when you know that you can make ends meet.

While even a simple paper budget can work, digital tools are usually more user-friendly. Consider a free option, such as Mint .

5. A Planner

Finally, to keep each part of your life in order and to manage both work and school responsibilities, you will need a planner.

This could be either a digital or paper-and-pencil system. A calendar app on your smartphone can work well while providing you with automatic reminders.

However, you may prefer an inexpensive weekly and monthly calendar, such as one by Blue Sky or Paperage .

PAPERAGE - Weekly, Monthly Planner

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Steps to Succeed at Attending Nursing School While Working Full-Time

Once you have the items, people, and attitudes you need in place, you are ready to start the process of creating a successful, simultaneous full-time work and school schedule.

1. Find a Job With Flexibility

coffee with papers

Tackle your job first because the hours your job requires will shape your nursing school schedule.

You may already work with a supervisor who is happy to let you have flexibility each week, or you may need to request a switch to a different shift.

If your supervisor is unwilling to work with you on your schedule to the extent that you need, you may need to look for a different job before committing to nursing school.

2. Choose a Job That Meshes Well With Nursing

woman on computer

If you do need or want to look for a new job, consider one that meshes well with the nursing profession.

This will give you important practice with new skills, helping you succeed in school and giving you a jumpstart on your nursing-based resume.

Look for jobs at a clinic, nursing home or hospital, such as working as a certified nursing assistant or phlebotomist.

3. Choose a Nursing School With a Flexible Study Plan

Article Image - Planner, Smartphone, and Sticky Notes on a Table

Although it is possible to attend a traditional four-year college or university while working full-time, your best option will be to choose a flexible study plan to go along with your job hours.

Thankfully, there are plenty of nursing schools these days that offer class times during the evening rather than only during the day or that provide a vast majority of their classes in an online format, allowing you to listen to lectures at a convenient time for you.

Another option that might work better for you would be to work full-time while taking nursing classes part-time.

Although this will extend your schooling experience, you might need to consider this plan to meet your bills as well as other responsibilities in your life.

4. Create a Daily and Weekly Plan for Working and Studying


According to Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill, two men well-reputed for their wisdom, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.”

Whether you have always been an organized person who sticks to a schedule or not, you must have a plan in place for how you use your time before beginning nursing school.

Of course, you will need to include your work hours and lecture or laboratory times, but you must also plan times to do homework, study for tests, take care of your family or other personal responsibilities and take personal time for yourself.

You may wish to start out with an hourly worksheet, breaking down all of your tasks into half-hour increments.

Once you get used to your new system, you can probably switch to a weekly planner.

This Time-Block Planner can be a great place to start.

The Time-Block Planner: A Daily Method for Deep Work in a Distracted World

  • Newport, Cal (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages – 11/10/2020 (Publication Date) – Portfolio (Publisher)

5. Create Your Study Space

woman studying

While you should have already determined where and when you will do your homework and studying, you will want to prepare your space.

This could mean having a laptop , headphones, and a backpack ready for studying outside the house.

It could also mean having a desk, comfortable chair, desk lamp and anything else that helps you get into studying mode at home, such as a candle, tea or music.

6. Build and Schedule a Support System

planning or scheduling

Your chosen support system can be relied upon for several different tasks, including child care and a variety of household tasks for which you no longer realistically have time.

Discuss your desired time frames and get a schedule in place at the beginning of your semester to limit any anxiety as you begin your new schedule.

Friends and family members may prefer to discuss times together and create a master calendar that all can access.

7. Set Realistic Goals


Holding down the equivalent of two full-time jobs will take up the majority of your awake time, making it difficult for you to spend as much time as usual with loved ones, on vacations, or even on household tasks, such as cooking and cleaning.

This is not the time to aim for perfection. Instead, focus on positive self-talk, set realistic goals for your time and energy and celebrate small victories.

8. Stick to Your Budget

budget planning

Once your budget is in place, you must remember that it will only be as successful as you are at sticking to your assigned limits.

Ensure that you have room in your budget for unexpected expenses, such as household or automobile repairs.

Having a fund for these types of needs will limit your stress and help you stay on track with your financial goals when the unexpected happens.

9. Prioritize Healthy Habits

healthy habit

While you are certainly not going to have as much downtime as you once did, it is still vital that you take time for self-care, which should include healthy eating, regular movement and enough sleep.

Take time occasionally to pamper yourself, whether that is with a bubble bath, time with friends at a local sports bar or taking an hour to read a book for fun.

These healthy habits will help fuel your mind and body, decreasing your stress and ultimately giving you the energy you need for the more difficult parts of your life.

10. Ask for Help

helping hand checkered suit

Finally, do not be scared to ask for help from your support system, other friends or even your work supervisor or college professors when you need it.

Be honest about your concerns, and ask for their wisdom or help. You may be surprised at how a little change that they suggest will help you relax and accomplish your goals.

Even if you are a naturally independent person, you will need to lean in more to help from others during this busy season of your life.

Tackling Two Goals Simultaneously

Steps to Succeed at Attending Nursing School While Working Full-Time

Taking on a full-time job along with nursing school is a challenging goal, but it can best be accomplished with perseverance and the help of those around you.

Making good financial decisions and a flexible class schedule can make it a little easier.

Go here to find a nursing program . If you need to find a job that will give you the flexibility you need, make sure to check out the job board .

Have You Read These Yet?

  • How to Apply to Nursing School
  • How to Become a Nurse Right After High School
  • What Math Classes Are Needed For Nursing School?
  • Reasons to Become a Nurse
  • Healthcare Jobs Similar to Nursing
  • Accounting vs. Nursing: Which is Best?

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About the Author

Thomas Uzuegbunem is a registered nurse who graduated with a bachelor’s in business and went on to get his bachelor’s of science in nursing. He’s worked in the ICU, mental health (inpatient, outpatient), & GI specialty areas. He’s the lead editor and founder of Nurse Money Talk.

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How much does nursing school cost.

how much homework in nursing school

Reviewed by:

Luke Hartstein

Former Admissions Committee Member, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

If you’re interested in the cost of nursing school, read our guide for a full breakdown of everything you need to know.

Imagine dedicating your life to caring for others, only to be held back by the financial burden of obtaining the necessary education. It's a harsh reality that many face when considering a career in nursing .

But don't let the cost deter you from pursuing your dreams. With the right information and resources, you can navigate the expenses and find ways to make nursing school more affordable.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down the average cost of nursing school by program and discuss the various factors that can impact your total expenses. We'll also explore ways to pay for nursing school and answer some frequently asked questions about nursing education costs.

So, if you're ready to take the first step towards a fulfilling career in nursing, read on. We'll help you understand the financial landscape and provide the tools you need to make your nursing education a reality.

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Nursing School Cost by Degree

The cost of nursing school varies significantly by degree program. Here is a breakdown of the costs of each nursing degree . 

LPN programs typically cost $4,000 to $28,000 in total, with most students paying $8,000 to $12,000. Your career options will differ from an RN if you choose to stop at an LPN certificate.

ADN-RN programs usually cost $12,000 to $35,000, with an average cost of $18,000 to $25,000. Career opportunities may be limited if you opt for the shorter path.

BSN-RN programs at public schools range from $40,000 to $80,000, while private schools cost $60,000 to $120,000. Out-of-state students pay significantly more

Becoming an APRN requires a BSN plus a 2-4 year master's degree, costing anywhere from $63,000 to over $200,000 in total. APRNs land the highest-paid nursing jobs .

To summarize the above information, here’s a table comparing nursing school costs by degree. 

Keep in mind that these numbers are based on US averages, and may not reflect the total cost of a nursing degree including books, travel, etc. 

What Else Affects Nursing School Costs?

Here are a few considerations that may help you save on nursing school in certain areas. 

Online vs. On-Campus Program

Have you considered doing your nursing degree online? Online school can help you save on facility fees, transportation costs, food, costs, and more. Some schools also have a lower tuition rate for online students. 

If you’re someone who enjoys studying at libraries, cafes, or at home - attending nursing school online might be an excellent way to save up and stay cozy. To do well in an online degree, you must be good with self-motivation. If you choose this option, just make sure to follow your schedule and do your homework!

Public vs. Private Nursing School Programs

Choosing a state school for your nursing degree over a private or Ivy League institution will help you save exponentially on your nursing degree. You can still get a high-quality education from a less prestigious school. Many employers will care more about your demeanor and passion than your school.

When it comes to choosing a public or private institution, go with your gut. Ultimately what matters most is that you are confident and proud of your decision. Just make sure whichever college you choose has a good reputation, and meets all of your needs as a student. 

Location can make a significant impact on how much it costs to go to nursing school. Out-of-state and international fees can add thousands of dollars to your overall tuition cost. However, this doesn’t always mean you have to attend a local college in your hometown to save up. 

If your dream school is out of state, but you want to avoid paying extra, consider taking a gap year and becoming a resident of that state before attending school. Each state has different laws surrounding how to become a resident. 

For example, in Ohio, you can become a resident by registering a car in the state, registering to vote, and declaring the state your permanent residence. In most cases, you can become a resident of a different state by living there for 12 months without being a full-time student.

Other Nursing School Costs

Here are some additional costs and considerations to apply to your nursing school budget. 

Books & Supplies

Like most higher education programs, there are plenty of fees that contribute to the cost of nursing schools. You’ll have to pay for books, supplies, and accessories. Some supplies you’ll need will be specific to nursing school, such as uniforms, a stethoscope, scissors, penlights, and more. 

Health Costs

Most nursing schools require students to pay health-associated fees and costs as part of their program. Sometimes these are included in your overall tuition and fees, but sometimes they are separate costs to look out for. 

You should consider budgeting for a drug screening test, a TB test, a background check, required booster shots, bloodwork, and a Hepatitis B vaccine series. In certain instances, you may also need to purchase personal malpractice insurance.

Transportation & Food

It can be easy to overlook day-to-day costs such as transportation and on-campus meals when budgeting for nursing school, but it’s important to count them in. Depending on where you go to school, you should consider the amount you may spend on gas or public transit. 

For some students, it may even be cheaper to pay rent closer to campus in the long run. If you live close by, you’ll be able to go home for lunches, save on transit, and it may even help you get to class on time!

Childcare, Decreased Income

If you are a parent, a non-traditional nursing school applicant, or a young student who is currently working to support yourself - there are a few extra needs to consider. Some nursing schools offer childcare on campus, which is certainly something to look out for. 

If you have added life expenses, you will need to consider that you will have a decreased income while in school. Nursing school takes up a lot of time as well as physical and mental energy. It may be challenging to work a regular job while you are completing your degree, so it’s important to manage your finances accordingly.

To help you prepare for what your total bill might look like, take a look at your target school’s tuition calculator. Most schools offer this tool to help prospective students get a better idea of what to expect. For example, take a look at the tuition calculator for nursing school at the Maine College of Health Professions. 

How To Pay for Nursing School

If you can’t afford to pay for nursing school out of pocket, you’re certainly not alone! Here are some options for funding your nursing education. 

Financial Aid 

Many schools offer financial aid directly to their students , which you’ll often be able to apply for after being accepted. Financial aid is typically awarded based on the amount of assistance you need and your financial situation. In your, you will have to declare your income, the income of your parents/guardians, etc. 

Student Loans

Student loans can be applied for through your state or bank . It is recommended to take student loans out only if it is necessary and to avoid taking out a student line of credit from the bank as you may have to pay interest on it. Government loans are typically more forgiving with interest. 


Nursing scholarships are typically awarded based on merit and are highly selective. However, some schools consider financial aid and scholarships to be the same and offer them on the same basis. You should do plenty of research on scholarships that are available to you based on your unique situation and how to apply for them. 

Here are our answers to some frequently asked questions about nursing school costs.

1. How Much Is the Tuition for Nursing School?

The tuition for nursing school varies, with a BSN degree costing between $25,000 to $120,000 or more, depending on factors such as the type of program, school location, and reputation, with most students paying between $35,000 to $60,000 for their BSN degree.

2. How Much Does It Cost To Become a Nurse in Illinois?

In Illinois, the cost of nursing school is around $19,443 , with an associate's degree in nursing or a BSN being the most expensive option.

3. How Much Does It Cost To Become an RN In Ohio?

Becoming a nurse in Ohio can cost anywhere between $10,000 to $37,000, depending on the program and school attended, with in-state students generally paying much less for nursing school in Ohio.

4. How Much Does it Cost To Become an RN In Florida?

The cost of becoming an RN in Florida varies widely, with a BSN degree ranging from $12,000 to over $200,000, depending on the school, with private institutions offering the most expensive nursing programs and public schools providing cheaper options.

5. Is Nursing School Expensive?

Nursing school can be expensive, with costs varying widely depending on the type of program, school, and location. This ranges from a few thousand dollars for an associate's degree program at a community college to tens of thousands of dollars for a bachelor's or master's degree program at a private university.

6. What Is The Average Cost Of Nursing School?

The average cost of a BSN program in the US is between $35,000 to $60,000, depending on the specific program attended.

7. How Much Is RN School In California?

In California, the average annual tuition for a BSN program is $11,442 for California residents, while out-of-state students pay an average of $41,196.

8. Why Does Nursing School Cost So Much?

Nursing school costs so much because of additional expenses beyond typical faculty, staff, and building fees, such as clinical training costs, medical technology, accreditation, and regulatory requirements. Many see nursing school as an investment in a rewarding and financially stable career.

9. Is Going To Nursing School Worth The Cost?

Going to nursing school is worth the cost because proper education is important for a nursing career. Those who are passionate about a rewarding career will consider nursing school a good investment.

Final Thoughts

Starting your journey to becoming a nurse is a life-changing decision that requires careful consideration of the financial investment. While the cost of nursing school can vary greatly depending on the chosen path, you must keep your long-term career goals in mind.

Although LPN or CNA certificates may seem attractive due to their lower costs and shorter duration, they can limit your potential for growth, responsibility, and earning power in the long run. On the other hand, an ADN-RN degree opens the door to becoming a registered nurse but may not offer the same level of opportunities as a BSN-RN degree.

If the financial burden of nursing school seems daunting, remember that there are various resources available to help you get into your top school. Research nursing scholarships, financial aid, and student loans to alleviate the cost and make your nursing education more accessible.

Your future as a skilled, compassionate, and highly-valued healthcare provider awaits!

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Building Bonds, Shaping Futures: The 2024 RVC Nursing Pinning Ceremony

“Nursing school has been a horrifically stressful experience,” said Rock Valley College Nursing graduate Kyle Olesen. “And it is one I’m going to miss so much.”

Nursing Pinning Ceremony

The Nursing Pinning Ceremony was held on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

Olesen, president of the nursing honor society Alpha Delta Nu, was one of the student speakers at the 2024 RVC Nursing Pinning Ceremony. He confessed that he and his classmates would stay so late studying in the Health Sciences Center they often thought they would be locked in. Better yet, sleeping in the hospital beds in the lab seemed like a good option.

While they never actually slept overnight in the building, this cohort of nursing graduates shared many long days in clinicals, lots of SnapChats, and an overabundance of take-out.

Olson's speech highlighted the support and camaraderie among the students, emphasizing how they lifted each other up through the grueling program. His reflections resonated deeply with the audience, showcasing the unique and profound connections formed during their time at RVC.

By lifting each other up, 15 of the 23 nursing graduates were inducted into the Alpha Delta Nu nursing honor society.

The ceremony also featured an emotional speech by fellow student speaker Cameron Swimelar, who vividly described the collective journey marked by sleepless nights and relentless pursuit of their passions.

"We have weathered the storms of uncertainty and navigated the labyrinth of self-discovery," Swimelar said. "Two years ago, we walked into this program as a group of strangers, and now we are a family. I can truly say I have created dozens of lifelong relationships."

Swimelar expressed profound gratitude to the faculty, praising their dedication and mentorship. "You have challenged us to think critically, act with compassion, and strive for excellence. You have not only equipped us with the knowledge and skills needed in nursing but also instilled in us the values of empathy, resilience, and lifelong learning. Thank you for believing in us, pushing us beyond our limits, and preparing us to make a meaningful impact in the world of healthcare."

To his classmates, Swimelar said, “We are architects of tomorrow, visionaries who will shape our future.”

In their speeches, both Olesen and Swimelar emphasized the importance of the support they received from their families, friends, and the faculty. They acknowledged the sacrifices made by their loved ones and the unwavering belief of their instructors, which played a crucial role in their success.

As the ceremony concluded, the graduates looked forward to their future careers with a mix of excitement and nostalgia. The RVC Nursing Pinning Ceremony not only marked the end of a challenging chapter but also celebrated the beginning of their professional journeys as compassionate and skilled nurses ready to make a difference in the world.

The Rock Valley College Nursing Class of 2024 includes:

  • Yalo Gill-Floriane Assagoua*
  • Celeste Brenner*
  • Tatiana Carranza
  • Annastasia Castro*
  • Megan Earlywine*
  • Alexander Edmundson*
  • Bojana Elez
  • Danielle Emery*
  • Kaylee Gahm
  • Bobi Garner
  • Rachel Green*
  • Hannah Griffin*
  • Meredith Hall*
  • Kisha Hughes*
  • Trinity Keck*
  • Jude Molina
  • Kyle Olesen*
  • Gonzalo Lopez Ortega
  • Cameron Swimelar*
  • Nevaeh Torrance*
  • Katrina Urban
  • Zachary Wittmus*

*denotes an inductee into Alpha Delta Nu

Congratulations to RVC’s Nursing class of 2024.

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how much homework in nursing school

Classroom cell phone rules and a ban on book bans. What school bills passed in Minnesota this year.

W ith deficits looming, Minnesota's school districts brought their arguments for new funding to the State Capitol this year in the face of warnings not to expect much after a bountiful 2023 session.

And the final tally?

"Very modest," Scott Croonquist, executive director of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts, said this week.

Lawmakers managed to bolster funding for new literacy programs and took the first step to giving student teachers the financial support they say is needed to stick with 12 weeks of classroom training. Otherwise, it was a policy-driven year, with attention given to curbing excessive cellphone use and keeping kids in school and libraries free of book-ban politics .

"Students must be the center of our focus, and this legislation puts attention squarely on our kids," state Rep. Laurie Pryor, DFL-Minnetonka, chair of the House Education Policy Committee, said of the education policy bill approved in the session's closing days.

Here's what they did and some homework they left for later.

In an effort to keep students on task and to lessen the risks of cyberbullying, the state is requiring every school district and charter school to set cellphone use policies by March 15, 2025.

The legislation is not prescriptive, but state Rep. Sandra Feist, DFL-New Brighton, and Rep. Kristin Robbins, R-Maple Grove, made clear this year they'd like schools to be cellphone-free — and they pointed to success at a pair of middle schools where students must keep their phones locked up or out of sight.

The state's principals association will advise districts on ways to minimize the effects of cellphones on student behavior, mental health and academic achievement.

School attendance has suffered, post-pandemic , and lawmakers have responded by establishing a legislative work group to study chronic absenteeism in the coming months. In addition, 12 districts are being asked to come up with "promising practices" that ensure students get to class.

Minneapolis Public Schools is to take the lead and will receive $1 million of $4.7 million in state aid being dedicated to the effort. The 12 districts must conduct their first virtual meeting by Aug. 1.

The legislative work group is charged with recommending how to best to tackle absenteeism and truancy, and must issue a final report by Dec. 31.

Matt Shaver, policy director with EdAllies, a group that works closely with underserved communities, said the action was a "start," but a "big deal," too, given limits on new funding this session.

A year ago, the state passed the Read Act, which tasked teachers with learning a new way to teach kids to read. But districts were left wondering about long-term funding and the time available to train personnel.

There was the question, too, of how to pay teachers for their time learning , so lawmakers this session allocated $31.4 million to districts, charter schools and cooperatives to compensate teachers as they dig into programs placing a greater emphasis on phonics.

A pair of training deadlines were extended by a year, too.

Croonquist said the Read Act funding "certainly is appreciated, but it's not going to cover all of the costs."

The state also set out to ease the financial burden on student teachers who prepare for the profession by working weeks for free. A pilot program will supply a total of $6.5 million in stipends to student teachers enrolled at eight Minnesota colleges and universities.

Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota, commended lawmakers for finding ways to invest in current and future teachers during a tight budget year.

"Every Minnesota student deserves a great teacher who has the support and financial security they need to focus on the work," Specht said in a news release.

Another new measure prohibits book bans in schools and public libraries. The move comes at a time when books focusing on multiracial and LGBTQ themes have been removed from shelves at libraries across the U.S.

Students need access to books with "characters like themselves and their families," Specht said, praising the new policy.

Republicans said the legislation was unnecessary because book ban campaigns have been infrequent here.

A proposal to open rigorous courses to more students of color failed to advance, as did a proposed expansion of early learning scholarships to middle-income families . But the state Department of Education is receiving $7 million to establish the logistical groundwork to make the expansion happen.

Ericca Maas of the advocacy group Think Small said the move was an "important vote of confidence" in the fight to make child care more affordable to more families.

©2024 StarTribune. Visit startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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What School Subjects Do You Need in High School?

The subjects you study in high school should allow you to graduate, but you’ll also want classes that will prepare you for college and for life as an adult.

  • Subjects Offered in High School
  • Subjects Needed to Graduate
  • Subjects for College Preparation

Picking high school courses is an exciting process. Core high school subjects like math, science, and language arts are required, but a range of others can be selected. Finally being given more of a choice in what a student studies can be freeing, but also may feel overwhelming, confusing, or stressful.

What courses are best? There's no one right path. First, consider what is needed to graduate. Then, take a look at your options.

Parents and teens can work together to choose school subjects that not only engage their interests but also have their future plans and goals in mind.

For example, students who want to go to college may be required to take more years of a foreign language or other classes required by the schools they are interested in. A student who is interested in pursuing a career in construction may want to take an industrial arts class.

Read on to learn more about selecting courses in high school.

Parents / Nusha Ashjaee 

What School Subjects Are Offered in High School?

Most high schools offer the same basic school subjects: Math, language arts, foreign language, science, social studies, health, and physical education (PE).

However, the exact courses may vary dramatically from school to school. Different high schools—even within the same district—often have different course offerings or special programs. If possible, choose the local high school that provides the programs and classes that best suit your needs and passions.

Below is a list of the most common school subjects. However, individual schools may offer a range of specialized classes, such as mindfulness or engineering.

High School Subjects

  • Literature or Language Arts
  • Speech and Debate
  • Writing or Composition
  • Trigonometry or Calculus
  • Biology (typically has advanced class options)
  • Chemistry (typically has advanced class options)
  • Earth or Space Sciences
  • Physics (typically has advanced class options)
  • US Government
  • World History
  • Foreign Language, such as Spanish, French, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and German
  • Physical Education and Health
  • Arts, such as Music, Photography, Drawing, or Ceramics
  • Computer Applications, Graphic Design, or Web Design
  • Cooking and other life skills
  • Physical Education
  • Trade field studies such as Auto Mechanics, Woodworking, or Nursing
  • Personal Finance

School Subjects You Need to Graduate

Ideally, teens should start high school with a basic plan of the classes they will need to take to graduate. Every state has different requirements for obtaining a high school diploma, and each school varies greatly in what it offers to give kids a chance to fulfill them. Different schools also vary in the number of classes students take each year.

The school's guidance department can help students understand the graduation requirements and how their coursework aligns with them.

English language arts

Studying the English language and literature is an important part of high school for every student, regardless of their post-school plans. In addition to studying important pieces of literature, English classes teach teens about writing, reading, and speaking.

Most states require four years of English or language arts classes. Colleges require four years of English for admission. The main English classes in high school include:


In high school, students dig into several different types of math . Algebra and geometry are required at most high schools, and students may choose to take advanced math classes if they are offered.

Most states require three or four years of math coursework in high school. The main math classes in high school include:

Basic life sciences (biology) and physical sciences (chemistry and physics) are required at most high schools. These classes often include lab components that allow students to perform hands-on experiments.

Most states require two to three years of science coursework in high school. These may include:

  • Biology (typically has advanced class options)
  • Chemistry (typically has advanced class options)
  • Earth or Space sciences

Social studies and history

Understanding the past and how the world works is important for young adults. In high school, students will study history and government and learn about how social studies affects their lives.

Most states require three to four years of social studies coursework in high school, including:

Foreign languages

Learning a second language is important in today's global world. While many high schools offer foreign language courses, only 11 states require students to take a foreign language course.  

High school students can fill these requirements by learning the basics of at least one foreign language. They may also be able to choose to take advanced classes to learn more.

Common languages offered in high school include:

  • Mandarin Chinese

Other possible language offerings include Russian, Latin, American Sign Language, Arabic, and German.

Physical education and health

Physical education and health classes can teach high schoolers how to care for their bodies' fitness, health, and nutritional needs. These courses often touch on the following:

  • Mental health
  • Sexual health
  • Making healthy choices about drugs, alcohol, and nicotine.

Many states require at least one unit of PE and health to graduate. Other states offer these subjects as electives.

School Subjects for College Preparation

Students planning to go to college should consider how colleges will look at their courses during the application process. Grade point average (GPA) is important, but coursework should also demonstrate academic rigor.

When planning, it can be helpful to balance standard high school courses with some that are more challenging. Additionally, students can do this—and even get a head start on college—by taking advanced placement (AP) or college-level classes.

AP classes are more rigorous courses that teach subjects at an introductory college level. Some of the most common AP courses that are available include:

  • Calculus AB
  • English Literature
  • African American Studies

Students who take AP classes have the option to take an AP test in the spring. If they get a certain score, they can get credit for the course at many colleges.

College credit courses

Many high schools offer opportunities to gain college credit through various programs. Your child's academic advisor, teachers, or counseling department can inform them about such offerings.

These may be online or in-person classes through programs offered by colleges and universities, and a professor or a high school teacher may teach them. Dual-credit programs allow students to fulfill their high school requirements while obtaining some college credits free of charge.

School Subject Electives

In addition to the basic classes, there are usually plenty of opportunities to take electives in various areas of study. These can not only broaden a student's academic knowledge but also teach them valuable life skills and inspire their career aspirations .

In some cases, a student may be given the freedom to choose one class from a select group of options required in the school's curriculum. In others, a student may have room in their schedule to choose to study something simply based on their interests and goals.

Examples of elective classes may include:

  • Arts, such as music, photography, fashion design, painting, theater, dance, or ceramics
  • Computer applications, graphic design, or web design
  • Student government
  • Forensic science
  • Physical education
  • Sports medicine
  • Trade field studies such as auto mechanics, welding, or nursing
  • Personal finance or business

Students on a vocational track may be able to gain some hands-on learning in fields such as metalworks and woodworking. Many schools even offer the opportunity to gain certificates or licenses that will help them in their future careers .

Key Takeaways

Choosing high school classes requires planning both as a student enters school and throughout their high school experience. The right classes are challenging and engaging but not unrealistically rigorous or overwhelming.

An ideal schedule can help a student succeed, enjoy learning, and have a good academic experience while preparing them for their future plans , whatever they may be. Have your teen set up a meeting with their school counselor if they need any help.

The association between neighbourhoods and educational achievement, a systematic review and meta-analysis . J Hous Built Environ . 2016.

50-state comparison . Education Commission of the States . 2019.

High school classes required for college admission . National Association for College Admission Counseling . n.d.

The national K-16 foreign language enrollment survey report . American Councils for International Education . 2017.

Program summary report . College Board. 2019.

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