One of the many perks of heading off to college is being able to make your own schedule. Long gone are the days of your schedule being dictated by the bell, and here to stay are many more opportunities for flexibility and responsibility.
As liberating as it is to be able to make your own course schedule and sign up for classes on your own, it’s extremely important to be smart in making these decisions. Here is some of our best advice for crafting your college course schedule.
Sure, it’s tempting to cram all your courses into three days so you can have a 5-day weekend. But it’s really not the smartest idea, especially for your first year as an undergrad.
Know that 8 a.m.’s might be rough.
High school starts early, so you’re probably accustomed to being an early riser at this point. So for some, 8 a.m. might be a natural time to start classes. But just think twice as to if it’s the best time for you. You may often have late nights or other circumstances that may make it difficult to be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the first class of the day.
Look at campus maps.
Don’t make a rookie mistake and book back-to-back classes that are across campus from one another. Aside from many colleges having strict lateness policies, rushing around and running through campus can be difficult, especially during bad weather or crummy temperatures.
Don’t knock night classes.
In high school, you may have felt as though there was nothing worse than having to be at school come nightfall — but in college, it can be clutch. Night classes are often offered for longer class sessions, which means only having class once or maybe twice per week. While three-hour classes can sound long, they typically feature a break in between and can go by quite quickly if you’re engaged in the content. Perhaps consider saving the courses you are most excited for and then explore opportunities for these as longer, cluster classes.
Talk to your roommate.
If you’re both late risers, but one of you signs up for an 8 a.m. it can ruin your ability to sleep in. If you and your roommate find that you both are either early birds or night owls, you can both make an effort to schedule your courses accordingly. It’s a win/win.
Do your research.
Most of the time, professors are listed along with the courses so be sure to do your research! It’s important to ask around about specific professors, and upperclassmen or some professor review websites (your school might even have its own version) will give you the honest scoop.
Mind your major.
While you’re probably tempted to knock off all the liberal arts requirements early, be sure you’re taking at least one or two courses that are specific to your major so you get a real taste for the content before it’s too late to switch.
If you go in knowing your minor and you can get it done early enough, you may be able to use your last two years to actually get a double minor — which is a win/win. Try to take these courses early on too, if you can.
Ask your advisor.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your course schedule, prerequisites, or degree plan, be sure to speak to your advisor. It’s what they are there for! While most schools will have you meet or email with your advisor prior to registration, if not you can always request a meeting or planning session yourself.