How to Plan the Perfect Class Schedule

Course registration for the fall 2019 semester is approaching quickly and if you’re anything like me, you’re already working on planning out your classes. Even if you’re not the planner-type, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the game and start adding courses to your enrollment shopping cart. If you have no idea where to start, or if you’ve been stuck with a schedule you didn’t like in the past, this is the guide for you.

Step 1: Make a Rough Outline

First, you should decide what general classes you need to take. Print out your major requirements and your gen-ed requirements. Cross out any classes you’ve already taken and see what’s left. Then, make a rough outline of what you want to take next semester. For example, you might want to take 2 classes for your first major, 2 classes for your second major, and 1 gen-ed. It’s useful to have a rough outline for all 4 years because you might discover that you can graduate early, or that you won’t have time to fit in all your intended majors/minors by your anticipated graduation date. Below is my example of a 4-year outline (I’m majoring in psychology and communications).

Step 2: Pick Specific Classes

Now that you’ve established a general idea of what you’re taking, pick out the specific classes that you’d be interested in. Look for classes that overlap between majors or fulfill both a major requirement and a gen-ed, because it always feels good to knockout multiple requirements with one class. Make sure the classes you want to take are being offered next semester by looking them up on Pitt’s course catalog.

Step 3: Times and Professors

Now that you know exactly what you want to take, it’s time to get into the specifics. The first thing I like to do is write down every possible time that each class is offered. This might be excessive, but personally I think it’s the easiest way to get an overview of what your potential schedule options are. Here’s an example of my “master schedule.”

Then, think about whether you want to stack your classes or spread them out. I prefer stacking because I like to have back-to-back classes followed by days of no classes, which I spend catching up on work. Play around with possible class schedules and look out for any conflicting classes that overlap with others.

You can also take this opportunity to look up professors on Watch out for any professors with consistently poor reviews and seek out professors that past students have loved!

Step 4: Add to Shopping Cart

Finally, add the classes you want to your enrollment shopping cart so that you’re ready to go when registration opens. Make sure you check off the “waitlist” box so that if a class is full, you’ll be added to the waitlist. The day before your enrollment appointment, check your shopping cart again to see if the classes are still available.

Step 5: Have a Back-up Plan

It’s possible that when it comes time to register, you’ll find that a class you wanted is full. One option is to stay on the waitlist, but it’s also a good idea to have a back-up plan. Look at your master schedule again and see if there’s another class time that works for you. If not, look at your major requirements to find a similar class.

Good luck planning your schedule and don’t forget that your advisor is always there for you if you need further help!


Photo Credits: 1, author’s own, author’s own, 4

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