Academics time?


10-Year Member
5-Year Member
Nov 29, 2008
I was just wondering if (question for mids/grads) there is enough time for completing all of your academic work each day? do the professors understand the time restraints and take it easy on what they assign you or do they lay it on you thick? and ik in typical colleges + universities prof assign essays as a way to test you or instead of other assignments and i'm really slow at writing them lol so i was just wondering if they assign alot of essays?---it's not a del breaker by any means but i'm jw...
I'm not a cadet/mid (prospective class of 2013), but from the cadets I've talked to at USAFA and West Point, they give a lot of homework, but the teachers know how long you have to do it, and how long it should take. The biggest thing I heard was that the load was tough, but definitely manageable. If you're going into engineering, expect to have a good amount of late nights, but otherwise, you should be done by a reasonable hour.
This question is more difficult to answer than it seems. As a general rule in higher education, you should spend 2 hrs on homework for every hour spent in class. If you do the math for plebe year, plebes carrying 16-17 semester hours will need to spend 32-34 hours doing homework. You get 3 hrs per night of mandatory study time, other than Saturday. So, what do you think?

However, it's a bit more complex. First of all, not all students need the full two hours for every class -- because there is less work for a given class or because the topic comes more naturally to the student. Second, there is additional time available, such as free periods, afternoons after mandatory sports, and weekends. As you get more senior, academics typically become more difficult and you don't necessarily have more free time. However, you have likely become better at studying and definitely have become better at managing the time you do have.

Most mids find USNA academics very challenging. You carry more hours than many college students. The classes are hard. And, most importantly, you have so much more to do than most college students (rates, parades, mandatory athletics, standing watch, mandatory spirit activities, etc.).

However, remember that they only accept people they think can handle the academics. The key is to keep up with your coursework and seek help as soon as you need it. The first mission of the profs at USNA is teaching, not research. Thus, they are more than willing to provde EI (extra instruction) and smart mids take advantage of this opportunity.
I am sure some current mids can give you a more dated perspective but I don't think much has changed since my days in the Hall.

You will carry about 18-20 hours a semester. You will have to make time to stay physically fit. You will march, play sports and get bombarded with extra-curricular activities. You will always have too much work. You will not get much sleep for four years.

Welcome to USNA.
Things definitely haven't changed that much sir. It was still four years of prolonged sleep deprivation :wink:

In answer to the original question, yes the professors do understand that you have a tough schedule. That being said, they expect you to be able to balance your academic workload with your other obligations. You do have time to cram it all in. Some weeks are tough, others are easier. In my experience, the academic workload tended to come in cycles.

Of course, if you're struggling academically, there are tons of ways to get help. There's an academic center that will help you develop study skills, plus steer you towards midshipmen run study groups or tutoring sessions if you need them. There's even a writing center where tutors will sit down with you and critique your papers.

Additionally, all the professors are more than willing to schedule extra instruction, if you seek them out.

Bottom line: The only people I knew who failed out academically were those that either blew off their work, or those who, for whatever reason, didn't take advantage of the academic resources the academy offers.
The professors come hot and cold - some understand the other demands and some choose to ignore those demands. As in any institution you will have good faculty and some not so good. Most are willing to help you if you seek them out and you are willing to put in the extra time. The Midshipmen Study Grroup and tutoring is really good. Just remember those Mids are giving their own study time up to help you. Make it worth both of your time. They are not there to do your homework.

For me the best way to balance the demands was first to never study in the hall in the evening - to much distraction. The Library is a safe haven - no one can hassle you. Next I try to get as much of the busy work for homework out of the way during free time between classes - either in the Hall or other places around the yard. Save the evening for papers and true studying, reading to be familiarized with the next lecture or class. Keep a calendar and assignment book. Put odd things in your calendar that could come back to haunt you if you put something off - such as some of the athletic events. Not uncommon to be voluntold to go to NJ all day Sunday for a Sprint Army Navy Football game when you had planned on using that day to write a paper. Read ahead so that you actually know what is going on in class - makes your study time in the evening go much smoother. If you can, get on a good schedule that works for you right off the start and not fall into "this is all review so will not take much time" trap. It is the later that will snowball and then you will find yourself behind and that is when time will never return to your side. I carried 18 and 16 credits first semester Plebe year - was fortunate to validate many Plebe classes - English, History, 6 semesters foreign language and 2 semesters of Calculus. Youngster year it picked up to 18 and 21. First Semester Second class I have had 21.

I had the most sleep plebe year - it has been down hill since. And really first semester Junior year is the killer. Been much more demanding than any of the previous 4 semesters.

I came from a Private High School that gave a demanding amount of home work. Being small we were all expected to participate in many ec's. We could not breeze through the academics like my friends at other schools could. I did not find the demands of Plebe year to be unreasonable or for that matter all that difficult. I did see alot of Plebes struggle who did not have a study plan or good study habits as they probably never had the type of work load I had had in HS.

My best advice is for anyone still a junior you have 3 semesters to learn how to study (it is different from just doing homework) That will help tremendously Plebe year.
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