Maybe you’re brand new to the college experience and looking for guidance on these beasts called “classes.” Maybe you’re working on your junior year and need a few tricks to make this semester belong to you, not the other way around. Whatever the case may be, here are a few steps to help simplify the process of creating your course schedule – and making sure it works for you.
- Get a head start. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the reason I am stressing this is because the good classes fill up fast. In order to create a schedule that really does everything you need it to – coincides with work, gives you time to study, is the right amount of fun and serious – you need to make sure you have your pick of the litter. Start early! Embrace your inner over-achiever and take care of it now – you will still have plenty of time to procrastinate during the semester.
- Determine your course load. While we all would rather take Play With Puppies 101 over Microbiotechnosuperphysics 407, sometimes the courses we want are not the ones we need to graduate. Consider your graduation and major requirements, as well as your outside obligations. Can you afford to take a full course load this semester? Would part time classes help you maintain your sanity? Maybe you work better alone – consider an online class to the traditional on-campus forum. Even further, why not an entirely online semester? Does that leave too much room for slacking? Keep yourself, your lifestyle, and your learning habits in mind while asking these questions – and be honest! Don’t ever do more (or less) than you’re capable of. (Or financial aid will allow!)
- Check your college’s website or course catalog for the most current class schedule. Once you have down the amount and type of classes you can take, you can see what your school has to offer. Some schools start building the following semester’s schedule early, while others wait until the entire schedule is complete to post the info. Check around your college’s website to find out when the information is available, and once it is, start making lists of which classes fit into your life. Remember to write down the really good classes – course codes and all!
- Use the Half and Half Technique. Think wants versus needs. Half the battle in college is balancing what you love with what you have to put up with, and the same should go for your schedule. Taking more than one class? Make half of your schedule fit the graduation requirements (any prerequisites, intro courses, or classes you need but never enjoyed), and make the other half fit your favorite subjects. This is your opportunity to think outside the box – “fun” classes do not have to be pointless ones. A friend of mine always schedules at least one class she knows she can pass with flying colors – she calls it her “cake” class! That class (or classes) can be your best subject, a new interest, or even a course geared towards an easier minor. Now you’ll have a built-in excuse to procrastinate on your tough homework – as long as you’re doing the easy stuff first!
- Prepare back up classes. Having a padded list of classes means you’ll still be happy if one fills up before you have a chance to register. Keep your options open. Things don’t always work out, and you’ll stress yourself out if you’re not willing to be flexible.
- Find out the earliest days to register. This usually depends on the amount of credits you have, so check your transcript just in case. Once you have the right date, make a memo of it on your calendar or on your phone. Keep your list of classes handy!
- Register for class! Remember, if you register on campus, you may or may not have a line ahead of you. Registering online creates its own problems – that many people accessing a server is bound to cause some technical issues. Just remember to stay flexible. You’ve covered all your bases – the rest will work itself out.
Have a great semester!