Hello, everyone! As we all know, your college schedule can have a huge impression on what your semester will be like; it can form the foundation of different habits and routines that can last all the way up to graduation. In order to have the best foundation possible, you need to have the best schedule possible, but that’s a little hard to do if you don’t know what to do! Luckily, I’m here to tell you my mistakes and successes from scheduling, as well as pass along my advice on how to set-up the best schedule possible!
Schedule as Early as Possible
I cannot tell you how important this is! I was one of the last freshmen to schedule in the summer before college, and it was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. It took me forever to set-up my schedule because so many of the classes that I wanted/needed were already filled up, or there wasn’t a section available that would fit around another class that I had chosen. Some of the students that were scheduling at the same time as me couldn’t even get into classes in their major! Even when I was finally able to get a schedule set up, it wasn’t the best one; I would have awkward amounts of time between my classes that were too small to get any work done. In the end, it dragged my day out longer than it needed to be. In my second semester, however, I was one of the first students to schedule and I ended up with the perfect schedule! I can’t tell you how big of an impact your schedule makes on your semester, so it is important to schedule as early as possible.
Don’t Take Early Morning and Late Night Classes
They aren’t always avoidable and I haven’t had one yet, but I can tell you from observing my fellow students that you should try to avoid taking early morning and late night classes. It doesn’t matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl, either; you are going to have late night study sessions that are going to leave you wanting to sleep in, as well as days where you just want to be done with classes after a certain point. If you know that you aren’t going to be able to handle taking a class during these times, then don’t sign up for them. You will thank yourself later.
Leave Time for Lunch
If at all possible, leave time for lunch in your schedule. College classes are hard and stressful, and skipping lunch (or any other meal, for that matter) can make them even more so. I love having my schedule set up so that I have lunch at the same time as my friends because it’s a great break in the middle of the day where I get to de-stress and socialize. Believe me, you’ll be glad if you do.
Get Them Over With
One of the things that I disliked about my first semester schedule is how spread out my classes were. I had awkward amounts of time between my classes (usually about 30-45 minutes) where I wouldn’t have enough time to get anything done, so I would often just be waiting outside of the classroom playing on my phone or reading a book. Now multiply that by several times per week; I was literally losing hours of precious time where I could have been doing other things. This semester, on the other hand, I have all of my classes scheduled back-to-back, so on some days I am done before noon! Although some students may not like having it like this, I’d rather get my classes over with all at once so that I can have more time to do things later on.
Balance the Levels of Difficulty
If you’re a high school senior reading this, then just know that it doesn’t matter how well you balanced those 7 or 8 classes in high school, college is going to be much different. The workloads are much more intense (although some classes demand much more time then others). As enthusiastic as you may be, don’t start off college rushing into a bunch of high-difficulty classes just to get them over with; the last thing you want to do is crash and burn. Create a schedule with both hard and easy classes so that you won’t feel overwhelmed and will have time outside of class to do things besides homework and studying. A major lesson you have to learn in college is how to balance things, and your schedule is one of the major ones.
Create a Mock Schedule Beforehand
When you go into scheduling, go with a good idea of what classes you want to take; take a look at the general education requirements you haven’t completed yet and (more importantly) the classes for your major. You especially need to be aware if some of your major’s classes aren’t offered in certain semester’s, because that can affect your schedule a lot. All schools display their schedule of classes before registration, so you can go through and see what classes and sections are available and make a “mock” schedule before registration. Having a mock schedule made up can make scheduling ten times easier.
I cannot tell you how important this website can be! However, you also need to use it with caution. It is more important to look at variables like the professor’s teaching style than a student’s complaints about the professor, because those complaints may only apply to that student. If you use this site correctly, then you can figure out how to have classes where the professor teaches in a way that you will understand.
I’ve definitely seen and lived through great and terrible college schedules, so I can vouch how important these tips are for making the best schedule possible. No matter whether you are a continuing student or an incoming freshman, these tips can be very useful in creating the schedule that is best for you. Hopefully you will find these useful!
P.S. Have any comments, questions, or tips from your own scheduling experience that you would like to share? Write me a letter (in the comments) or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!