7 Class Scheduling Tips for College Students
Class scheduling can have a tremendous impact on how well you are able to make it through a semester, and thus stay enthused about your college prospects. If you have already gone through the obstacles before, then you may not need to hear this, but if you are still uncomfortable with scheduling classes or you are about to be an incoming freshman next fall, then here are some class scheduling tips to help you make the most of things. Let’s get started!
1. Determine your choices.
The best place to start when scheduling classes is always the course catalog. Of course, before you do that, you will want to consider the types of classes that appeal to your strengths as well as the courses you’ll need to improve on to meet professional goals. While there at one time was a “follow your heart” type of attitude, college has become too expensive to base decisions solely on that.
Really consider the available professions in your line of study before moving forward, and try to only pick those that will offer some type of transferrable skill to the workforce.
2. Respect your sanity.
Many college students are in such a hurry to get their lives under way that they try to take on too much too soon, packing semesters with 15, 18 or even 21 hours! Believe us, we get the temptation, but what are a few extra months in the grand scheme of life? Don’t try to take on too much. Respect the fact that you are a human being who deserves the right to slow down and take in your surroundings.
College is as much about finding yourself as it is finding a career, so try to incorporate time for you, for friends, and for experiences outside of the classroom even if that means taking a few extra hours for the semester.
3. You have an advisor; use them!
Some advisors are merely data entry specialists when it comes to doing that part of their jobs. They don’t put much effort into the class scheduling process and rely on you to make all the decisions. Don’t accept that as the norm if you can help it, and you feel like you need the extra experience.
Realize that the university assigns you an advisor for a reason. They know that you may not have all the answers at this point in your life, and you need the assistance of someone with experience getting students hooked up with the right classes at the right times in their lives. Make them work for that “advisor” title if you feel lacking in confidence. It’s what they’re there for.
4. Focus on requirements first.
When class scheduling at the beginning, don’t be in a hurry to jump into your major. For starters, many students find out the major they initially picked isn’t quite what they want a couple of years into it. Secondly, you cannot really move on with your educational journey until you have the requirements licked. Therefore, make it a goal to stuff all of your required courses into those first two years of schooling.
You may find, as skills develop, that you want to focus on a completely different area of study thanks to the overview!
5. Check the intensity of a course before signing up.
Not all 12- or 15-hour semesters are created equally. While it may look the same on your schedule, some classes are intensive in certain types of work. For example, let’s say that you need to take a math, science, language arts, and history course, but all of them require intensive research projects.
While you may only get 12 hours for the semester — provided each course is three hours each — the research-intensive demands of each course may add a lot of outside work to your load.
Therefore, try to find a balance of courses when signing up — classes that allow you to spread out the type of work you do, from test-focused to writing-and-research-focused. In other words take care not to burn out your research skills.
6. Carry over what you can from high school.
School districts have done a much better job over the last 10 years of opening up AP and other college-credit courses to students before they even get out of high school. When class scheduling, make sure that you carry over whatever you can provided that it meets a general requirement of some sort.
Use the extra credit to take a lighter course load or to simply enroll in courses that offer some form of clarity as to whether a specific major is right for you.
7. Do it early.
Registering for classes early is the most important thing that you can do to ensure you get the classes you want. Pay close attention to registration dates, from opening to close, and get in to see your advisor with as early of an appointment as you can. This will ensure that you get all or most of the courses that you really want.
Class scheduling can be a stressful time for students, but it can also be fun and exciting if you stick to the tips that we’ve mentioned here. As you consider your course catalog, keep each of these in mind and make your next semester one of fun and excitement both inside and outside the classroom.