The end of the school year is quickly approaching which means that you are probably excited for summer and having a break from school. However, you most likely need to prepare your schedule for next fall first. This can be an overwhelming task if you don’t have the proper tools to make the perfect class schedule for yourself. Today I am going to share my best tips and strategies with you to make this process as easy as possible.
Know What Times You Are At Your Best
I promised myself freshman year that I would never take an 8am. I know that I would never be able to wake up early enough to get to class and to be alert while there. For me, the first class I would want to take is a 9am or 10am. Even if this means that I will get out of class a little later in the day, I know I will be most productive during these times. When are you most productive? Choose classes that fall between the time frame you are most productive so you have the best chance of excelling. If you tend to be an early riser then 8am classes might be a great fit for you.
Schedule Breaks For Yourself
In addition to working between your productive times, you need to schedule breaks for yourself. Keep in mind that too long of a break might make you tired or dread your next class. I prefer to give myself an hour lunch break which is enough time to eat and visit with friends between classes. I also find that a short mid-morning break is beneficial to help me prepare for my later classes in the day. Give yourself as many or as few breaks as you need. Keep in mind that the more breaks you have, the later you will finish each day.
Know What Classes And Professors You Want
You should always have a plan in place to complete the classes you need to graduate. If you attend community college, you might not have an exact list of requirements you need to fulfill to transfer. You should create a list of the courses you want to take and research professors to see who you want to learn from. I would also recommend having back up choices because classes tend to fill quickly.
If you are at a university, odds are you have a degree or graduation plan. As you complete classes, your progress is recorded and you know exactly what you need to take. Try to finish your GenEd classes as soon as possible while mixing in your major classes.
Use A Visual Schedule Builder
Many schools have an area that you can use to visually see the layout of your classes. This is handy to see the exact time gaps you have in your schedule as well as what classes you already tentatively chose. If your school does not offer a visual tool, you can use a free option such as google calendar. Fill in the times of each class you want to register for as well as the name and any other necessary information.
You need to know what is most important to you in a schedule. Do you only want to take morning classes? This will limit your options for classes. Do you only want to take English with a certain professor? This will limit the times available to you. If you know what is most important to you then you know what you can give up if your first choices don’t fit together perfectly.
How To Create The Perfect Class Schedule
Creating the perfect class schedule is a mix between patience, organization, and skill. If you have followed all of the above tips, then you are prepared to move on to actually piecing together your schedule. Below I am going to explain the exact process I used to create my schedule before I was an online student.
Create A Master List Of All Classes
It proved to be beneficial to me to see all of the classes I needed to take laid out in one area. My school provided an online version of this for me to track whenever I wanted which included classes I already took, planned to take, and needed to take. I also got a list of all of my major courses from my advisor with the general terms they were offered in. Having a master list of everything you need to take will not only make creating the perfect class schedule easier for the upcoming term, but also for the rest of your education as well.
Choose Classes For Term
Start by picking any classes you hope to take in the upcoming term. List all the courses on a piece of paper with the course name, professor, units, meeting times, and any other information you might need while registering. Once you have listed all the classes, you will need to prioritize them. Odds are you won’t get into every class you want on the first try.
Go through the list you created and decide what courses are most important to you. I like to choose 3-5 classes (depending on how many units you plan to take) that are my first picks. I label each of these with an A. Next I go through and pick 1-2 classes that would serve as replacements in my A choices don’t work out, label these B. Finally, I label whatever is left with a C. Typically I would use my C list only if they are my only option at the time of registration.
TIP: Consider online classes if you want to knock a class off while saving more time in your physical schedule.
Start Plugging Into Calendar
This is my favorite part to creating the perfect class schedule. It feels like a puzzle that I have to master. Start by plugging your A classes in first. Once they are plugged in, check to see if any of the classes overlap in times. If any do, see if the same class and professor are offered at a different time that doesn’t conflict. Otherwise, I look to my B list to see what will work instead.
After I have no conflicting classes I go through and see what kind of breaks are in my schedule. I like to make sure I don’t have any that are too long between classes. I always make sure I have a lunch in the afternoon when I know I am going to hit my afternoon slump. If a class falls during this time I will ask myself a few things. Is it a difficult class that will require a lot of attention? How close does the class end to when I prefer to have lunch? How many classes am I already taking on this day?
Once I have answered these questions I decide if I should change my schedule around or not. If the answer is yes, I refer back to my B list to see if any other classes fit. This takes a lot of playing around with to make sure you have the perfect class schedule. Keep in mind you need to consider how early you want to finish with class each day and what days you want off.
Visit Your Advisor
After you have created what you think is the perfect class schedule, you should request to see your advisor. Typically you will have certain registration days to do this but every school is different. During this visit you should show them your plan for the upcoming term and listen to any advice they might offer about it. Make sure you are meeting all your requirements and that you are qualified to take each class you are requesting.
There you have it! These are all my tips and tricks for creating the perfect class schedule each semester. Do you have any other tricks that work for you? Let me know in the comments how you plan your schedule!