Secrets to Organizing your Schedule
March 31, 2020
Tips and pointers on how to go about making the best schedule for the long and short term.
Scheduling can be one of the most intense moments of the semester. Normally scheduled early in the morning based on how many credits you have, it is simply a mad dash to sign up for the classes you need in the times you want, before everything fills up. Scheduling can dictate how your semester is going to go to an extent, so carefully planning it can be useful and help you succeed. Here are some tips to getting the best schedule.
First and foremost, planning ahead is important. The school normally releases a course catalog with the offerings for the upcoming semester a few weeks before registration is available. Depending on the size of your school, there can be tons of options for each course, or sometimes a very selective handful of students. The classes you can take most likely depends on how far you are in to your program. At the earlier stages of your college career, freshman and sophomore year, there is a large array of classes you need to take. This gives you a little more flexibility when selecting classes. As you near closer to graduation, there may be a few courses you need to graduate that are much more specific. Gauging the classes, you need to take and making sure you leave yourself some flexibility is important. It is smart to plan ahead a little in your first couple years so that you are not pinned down to a specific schedule later on. Taking away the possibility of a class being full stopping you from graduating is not an issue anyone wants to face. Start by selecting the classes you need to take. Depending on your program, this can fill up your entire schedule, or only be some of the courses you need to schedule any given semester. Once you have selected these courses, find the times they are being offered and write them down. Leave yourself some flexibility in case the course fills.
Next you need to meet either general requirements, or fill in some electives simply for credit. These courses normally offer a larger flexibility in what you can take. Now that you have a basic idea of the courses you are required to take, you can begin to select options for the more flexible part of your schedule. The things to look for when selecting these courses are if they check off any general requirements you may need to fulfill. If you have a liberal arts portion of your degree program, this should be the first thing you check. Filling out the basic requirements makes selecting courses much less daunting, especially when there are so many courses to choose from. Next I like to check the time the course is offered. At this time, you should factor in the times of your required courses, times of any extracurricular or work you may have, or simply scheduling based on what time of day you prefer to have class. Some people like early classes, some like later classes, some like classes spread out some like them stacked together. Knowing yourself is important to making the schedule that best fits your work style. I also like to consider what the course is. It may sound simple but taking a course simply because it fits well in your schedule and meets a requirement can lead you to spending a semester in boredom. Electives are a perfect chance to learn something that interests you, or maybe work towards a minor. The content of the course is an important part of any schedule. Lastly I like to check the professor. Sometimes a class description may seem boring, or may seem interesting but the course is not what you thought it would be. There are plenty of online resources where former students describe classes. You should also check with your peers for recommendations. Some professors can make any course material exciting while others can make a class period feel like an eternity.
With your courses all picked out, with a few backups just in case, and a loose plan for the remainder of your college career, you are ready to register for your courses. I recommend not waiting or pushing registration off as it can have a large impact on how you manage your time for the semester.
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