1. Be prepared for your registration period.
Assuming your school requires you to take a certain number of credit hours to complete a degree, you'll need to have a list of required courses out and ready to know the classes you'll need to take for the semester/quarter. Make sure you've spoken with an advisor, fulfilled your prerequisites (required classes you need to complete before a specific class), claimed any IB/AP/dual credits (helpful AP Credit Policy Search here), connected to the Internet for online registration, and cleared any registration bars, so you don't run into trouble while registering. The more prepared you feel, the smoother the process will be, so you can get right to registering for the classes you want.
2. Know your productive hours.
Are you a morning person? An afternoon person? Do you like to get up early? Or do you like to sleep in? Before you start looking at your college schedule, know what times of the day you feel most awake and in the mood to work. For example, I try to schedule my classes in the morning, because I really value afternoons to myself for working on The Bella Insider, doing homework, or working out. (Plus, it's prime napping time!) I also try to set meal times as off-limits for classes, because I know all I'll be thinking about is food if I don't get the chance to eat. The trick is to be realistic, and schedule classes when you know you'll be paying attention.
3. Discuss your classes with past students.
Making friends in college has its benefits, especially when they've already taken the classes you need to take. One of the most helpful things I do to plan for my perfect class schedule is ask past students what they think of a specific professor's teaching style, grading scheme, exams, and general interest in the students. By asking people you know, you can take their recommendation into more serious consideration when choosing classes. If you don't personally know past students, check out resources such as Rate My Professors or your university/college's database of student feedback.
4. Use a visual guide to plan your classes.
I'm a visual learner, and I really enjoy looking at color. If you're similar to me, I highly recommend using a computer program or a site like MyEdu to clearly see all your classes in calendar form. I love that I can customize my own colors and clearly see what class I have at what time, so I don't miss it or accidentally schedule something during a class period. Below is an example of a MyEdu page with my Spring 2016 schedule. As you can see, food is important! #sawahthefatty
5. Have backup classes prepared just in case.
No matter how much you plan and how perfect you think your schedule is, sometimes things just don't work out in our favor. In case there are registration issues, it's great to have a few backup classes written down. Whether they're a different section time of the same class or an entirely different one, backup classes are a good idea to still give you hours, so you can finish your degree on time.
If you're just entering college, I hope you found these five tips helpful. In the real world, it's rare to have the luxury of building your own perfect schedule, so enjoy college while you can! Here are my class scheduling tips from above summarized in Pinterest-friendly form:
I'd love to know how many of you are headed off to college in the fall! If you are, what are you excited about most? Let me know down below! Thanks so much for stopping by on the blog today. Please feel free to ask me any questions you have about college in the comments or email me at email@example.com. I'd be happy to answer them. Have a great day, y'all!
Photography by Joyce Tong