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Articles / Campus Life / Is There Travel Time Between College Classes?

April 26, 2020

Is There Travel Time Between College Classes?

Question: This may be the dumbest college question in the world … so dumb that I was embarrassed to ask my tour guide when I visited a college that I really want to go to. I had been looking at the courses I could take there, and there is one course I really like that meets three hours per week—Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. and then another course I also want to take that happens to meet three hours per week–Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 a.m. The campus is pretty big and I think that it would take nearly 10 minutes to get from one class to the next, even on a bike. So does that mean I can't sign up for the 10 o'clock class if I'm taking the 9? I don't want to walk in late every day. My high school has a three-minute “pass time" between classes. I'm wondering if colleges do the same, although three minutes doesn't seem like it would be nearly enough time for me to cross the campus.

This question isn't dumb at all, and even “The Dean" remembers worrying about the same thing when I was your age, nearly a half century ago (or maybe we're both dumb?) 😉


College schedules typically allow 10 minutes travel time between classes. In other words, your 9 a.m. class would get out at 9:50, so that would provide the 10 minutes that you think you need to reach the next class on time. Professors at the really large schools—especially those campuses that rely on a network of shuttle buses—are often accustomed to latecomers. So if you're in a situation where you feel that you need MORE than 10 minutes to get from one class to the next, just email the prof of the second class before registering to ask how strict he or she will be about starting right on time. But I bet that it's only on the very largest campuses that 10 minutes may not suffice. Otherwise you'll be fine, especially if you have a bike … and as long as you don't insist on a Starbucks stop on the way to your second class!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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