Unlike high school, college can be completed at your own pace. Under the high school system, it is easy to tell what year you are in. While colleges do still note freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior designations. A student labelled as a freshman may have attended the school for several years. College students can complete a bachelor’s degree in four years if they follow the example set by their high school, but that isn't required or always possible. Many degree programs can run into a five-year or more bachelor's degree due to the programming required or personal issues that make it difficult to complete the program in four years. Many high school students also come into college with one or more semesters of college credits. Students can also take courses over the summer to finish their degree sooner. These factors can make it difficult to determine what year or semester you have completed.
Determine Completed Hours
Locate your transcript and total up all the recorded course hours earned next to your course grade from the classes you have successfully completed. Passing a course is necessary to have earned course hours noted on the transcript. In order to know what semester or year you are in, you must first know how many credit hours you have completed. This is especially true if you have taken several incomplete courses or have a mixture of one-, three- and five-credit courses on your transcript.
Compare to Annual Scale
Take your credit hour total and compare it to this scale with under 30 credit hours equal to being a freshman, 30 to 60 credit hours equal to being a sophomore, 60 to 90 credit hours equal to being a junior and 90 to 120 credit hours is equal to being a senior. This scale reflects that a student has taken the average amount of 15 credit hours per semester. The exact numbers may fluctuate by about three credit hours, depending on what college you are attending or more if the degree you are seeking requires more hours than normal for graduation. Check on your college's website or speak to your adviser for information on degree programming specific to your school. At some colleges, tuition for the semester is capped at 15 hours of payment. Students might choose to take 18 or 21 credit hours instead of 15 to save money or to finish degree program sooner.
Calculate Required Hours
Calculate how many credits you will need each semester to graduate in four years based on the information on your college's website and specific college department. Until you have declared a major, look on the college website for a list of required core or basic courses for all degrees. A bachelor’s degree generally takes four years, or 120 credit hours, to complete. According to this formula, one year is the equivalent of 30 credit hours. Since a year is comprised of two semesters, 15 credit hours are equal to one semester. However, some degree programs require up to 140 credit hours, which means a student would need to take up to 17 credit hours per semester to graduate in four years.