It’s the middle of the night and you wake up panting. You have clammy hands, jittery fingers, a sweaty forehead, and chills down your spine.
Sounds like a nightmare.
Well it is, sort of.
It’s scheduling -- that hair-ripping time of the semester.
Scheduling is notorious for being difficult and frustrating, but these tips will help ease the process of creating your perfect schedule.
First, plan ahead. Planning is crucial to developing the ideal schedule.
Junior English major (and Bing Co-Campus Correspondent =]) Lauren Howley’s perfect schedule means never having to wake up before 10 a.m.
“Those early-morning classes don’t seem so intimidating when you register for them,” Howley says, “but believe me you’ll be burned out and hating life in February when you need to force yourself out of your warm bed and trudge to your 8:30 karate class in sub-zero temperatures.”
For others, the perfect schedule consists of a balance between classes you are genuinely interested in and “me-time.”
Abbey Silverman, a junior philosophy, political science, and law student, looks for classes that are close enough to each other to allow for some free time.
“Generally, I look to create a schedule that allows me to have one alternating day to myself,” Silverman says. “For example, putting a majority of my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that I have time for myself on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”
Students can view schedules for the upcoming semester prior to their registration date. It’s just a matter of taking the time to log onto your computer and checking it out.
“I always check the class schedule as soon as it is posted each semester,” Howley says. “It’s good to get a feel of the classes you actually want to take that can also fulfill requirements.”
While some students like Howley take the initiative to glance over the class listings as soon as they are up, others go the extra mile to fully plan out a potential schedule, maybe even two.
“I create a master list where I can rank which courses I would most prefer and what would be the backups to those courses,” Silverman says. “After that, I tend to play around with the timing of each course. Ideally, that would be it but because of registration dates and the competitive nature of registration I usually keep a backup schedule in case anything changes outside of my control.”
So sometimes, planning ahead may not guarantee you the perfect schedule, especially for lowerclassmen who may not have early registration dates because of their low number of credits. But don’t panic because where there’s a will, there’s a way.
“My biggest piece of advice for lowerclassmen is to utilize their resources,” Silverman says. “I recently learned the power of the petition slip and that if you talk to your professor and show a genuine interest in taking the course, most professors are helpful in getting you into that course.”
Another tactic in getting into your desired class is finding someone to save a spot for you. This one can get tricky but if you master the technique of persuasion, it will certainly be beneficial.
“Make friends with someone with more credits than you so they can hold a spot in the class you need until you register,” Howley says. “It’s the unwritten rule of thumb for registering when you don’t have enough credits to get into the class you want. It can be annoying sometimes and you may have to do some convincing, but it’s definitely worth it when you achieve that perfect, cushy schedule.”
Maybe you’re only friends with students your own age and that isn’t an option for you. Luckily, Binghamton’s offices of advising have trained professionals to help you with your scheduling woes. Take advantage of events like "Spring Into Advising" and visit your school's advising office. The advisers are trained professionals more than willing to help you out with your scheduling.
While traditional things like going to advising remain a huge help in schedule making, never underestimate the power of the Internet. The online community is filled with websites telling you all about your teachers and helping you build your schedule easily and interactively.
“BUwatcher.com is a lifesaver,” Howley says. “You can enter the class CRN and receive email and text messages updates when a spot in the class you wants opens!”
This website does all the hard work for you so you don’t have to constantly refresh the page hoping that the “0” in the “seats remaining” box turns into a “1.” BUwatcher.com may give you insight on classes but other sites focus solely on professors such as Ratemyprofessors.com, which works on a system of “smilies.”
“In the end, even if the material is interesting, your experience depends largely on the professor teaching the class,” Howley says. “The people who write those reviews wouldn’t waster their time if they didn’t feel strongly about the professor. Remember: Happy faces and chili peppers only.”