Is it worth taking a full course load (5-6 classes) during OCR?

So, I made the poor decision of taking 5.5 credits (6 classes the first half of the semester) during Junior Fall, the OCR/recruiting semester for most people at Penn. I was mainly applying for a ton of consulting internships, some marketing ones, and tech ones as well (but tech recruiting for non-engineering roles is not really that present on-campus... email me if you have more questions about that).

Anyhow, like many other upperclassmen say, I'd treat preparing for interviews, job fairs, networking events, etc. during Junior Fall as a full 1.0 credit class. It takes a lot of time... I stretched myself way too thin. I would have interviews in the OCR suite in McNeil Building or in Center City (where a lot of consulting companies' offices are located) in the early morning during Mon-Thurs before all my classes for the day, then have superdays a.k.a. final round interviews on Fridays (some of which required traveling to other cities). Added to my extracurricular club commitments and basically 6 classes, I was so tired every day. It even led to a somewhat serious health problem.

If I could go through Junior Fall again, I'd only take 4 classes. Please do yourself a favor and take care of yourself in this way.

Wallowing Whale, April 7, 2019 1:06PM

Seconding the post above – although I'll add that it definitely depends on what you're applying for! Consulting and banking/finance roles are going to be a lot more intense with interviews and networking, which take a ton of time away from classes and your free time.

Fall '17, I was conflicted between different industries, but also signed up for 5.5 CU (including CIS classes). I ended up at one point doing an interview on one day, taking late days for an assignment and finishing it on a cross-country flight that night, and getting four hours of sleep before an interview the next morning (didn't do well on the assignment; didn't get the job).

I'll add that sometimes, while you might want to err on the cautious side, you don't have that option due to graduation/requirements (been there done that ew), so in that case I'd recommend looking ahead at the syllabi and being aware of:

  • Midterms in the same week across classes
  • Projects and checkins
  • Assignment schedules and overlaps, late days (ENG), etc.

It also doesn't hurt to take a class pass-fail, or intentionally take "easier" classes – I signed up for a pass-fail gen-ed and an easier core class this past fall, knowing I'd have to take a higher courseload to graduate!

Bovine Bear, April 7 2019, 1:19 PM