In high school, you most likely didn’t have log in to a system and schedule classes yourself. In college, the process of scheduling can sometimes be somewhat of a daunting task, but if you have a good strategy then it makes it so much easier! Throughout this, I will talk a little bit about declaring your major. I plan to have a separate post about declaring your major soon!
1. Meet with your academic advisor
The most important step to scheduling your classes is meeting with your academic advisor. Typically, he/she will be based on your declared major and will give you an outline of the course progression you should take. Meeting with your academic advisor is SO important! If you are interested in taking any classes outside of your major, mention to them. They will be more than happy to help you explore different areas of interest and keep you on track for graduation and towards your goals.
2. Take your core classes first
Core classes are best taken first. As a general rule, these are the classes that all majors have in common. Taking these classes will help in deciding and declaring your major. These core classes provide an opportunity for you to explore your options and interests. College is a time to discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to be. If you find a core class very interesting, consider checking out other similar courses in that major.
3. Make a mock schedule
Once you have met with your advisor, you can start searching for classes that will be offered for the semester that you are trying to register for. You need to meet with your advisor a few weeks prior to when the registration window opens so that you will be prepared to register and won’t have to fight to secure a seat in a class. Trust me, preparing early is essential because sometimes registering for classes can be like the Hunger Games!
I typically would get a sheet of paper and draw columns for each day of the week. Then when I would find the class that I wanted I would write it in the mock schedule. Knowing exactly which classes you want helps for when the registration window opens so you can quickly add those classes without having to search and figure things out.
When searching for classes, there are a few things to consider:
4. Choose classes with professors that will best meet your academic needs
When looking up the courses that you are considering taking, it is important to look into who is the instructor for the class. Universities post semester evaluations on their site, but most students aren’t familiar with this. Instead, a lot of students use www.ratemyprofessors.com to learn more about instructors. Rate My Professors is an online database that compiles comments (both good and bad) from other students about professors. This will give you an idea of what the work load is, how they teach, what to expect from lectures and exams, etc. Talking with other students about professors is also a useful tool.
5. Time of day and days
When you schedule your classes, consider if when you are the most productive during the day. Are you a morning person? If not, then don’t sign up for classes early in the morning. Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid early classes because that is the only time that it is offered.
Also, some classes are offered Monday, Wednesday, & Friday for 1 hour, and some are offered Tuesday and Thursday for about an hour and a half.
6. Timing between classes
It is also best to not schedule classes back to back during your first semester. Give yourself an hour or so break to review over materials for the next class or grab some food. You also don’t want too big of a gap between classes. In my own experience, having a large gap does allow you to go home and do things there, BUT it sometimes makes it very hard to convince yourself to go back to campus! If you’re motivated then this shouldn’t be a problem.
7. Distance between classes on campus
It is very important for you to become familiar with campus. Know which buildings your classes will be held in and the determine the amount of time it will take you to walk, bike, or ride the bus to your next class ahead of time. Get a campus map and use it!
Hopefully these tips will assist you in scheduling your classes. Remember to not overload yourself with classes and take too many hours. Always consider how you will balance your life when scheduling classes. Good luck!