This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Penn chapter.
With advanced registration in full swing, you might be feeling a little pressure or stress. Choosing classes is harder than it seems, and from my experience, it’s tough to know what kind of schedule you’ll be up for seven months from now. There are some measures, however, that you can take in order to create the right schedule for you! Here are some tips:
1. Be realistic with your time
When making your schedule, it may seem like a good idea to cram all of your classes into a few short days. “No classes on Tuesday and Thursday? Works for me!” Well, maybe it does work for you, but I know I’ve make the mistake of thinking I could survive 8 hours of class twice a week with only one 30 minute break. At the time, this meant that I only had two hours of class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which sounded too good to be true. I made it through two weeks of this before switching to a more balanced schedule. Not only was I exhausted, but also I had little time to do my work for the next coming days. So my advice here is to be realistic. No one wants to spend 8 hours doing anything but sleeping, and you can only handle so many hours of class.
2. Be wary of signing up for classes with too many friends or with significant others
I’m not saying you should drop a class you really want to take just because of whoever else is enrolled. What I’m saying is that class is for learning, and you want your environment to be conducive to that. So if having people in your classes is a distraction, just do your own thing and make the schedule that you want.
3. Ask around; see who has taken your potential classes
Besides Penn Course Review, your peers are your most valuable resource when it comes to opinions of classes. Everyone is different, so getting as many opinions as you can allows you to make the best decisions. At the same time, try not to let one person’s opinion ruin a class for you if you’re genuinely interested in the topic. Class shopping exists for a reason, so just try classes out. You have nothing to lose.
4. Try to find the syllabus
If you can find a friend or someone who has taken the class, ask if they can send you the class syllabus. If not, see if the class or the professor has a website, it could be posted there. Lastly, email the professor yourself and ask if he or she has a past or present syllabus.
5. Do what you want to do!
This is pretty self-explanatory. Yes, there are major requirements and gen. ed. courses that none of us want to take, but there are a lot of really worthwhile courses at Penn. Whatever you want to major, minor, or just simply dabble in, go for it! I cannot stress enough that we are here to make the most of Penn and have an amazing experience. If taking a step outside of your comfort zone is what makes you happy, then you should do just that.
6. Step outside your comfort zone, but don’t get crazy
Going off of tip #5, stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a great way to explore new interests or find your passion if you’re not entirely sure what you love. I will say, however, that taking on a tough subject about which you have no prior knowledge can be time-consuming and more stressful than enlightening. This leads me to my next point: take advantage of Add/Drop period. Be wary of the dates so you don’t get stuck being forced to take a class that you dislike just because you missed the drop period. Similarly, you don’t want to miss being able to add a class.
7. Leave time to do your work
If you’re a super busy person, choosing five classes that all have recitations, labs, or other time commitments may make it difficult for you to get all of your work done. Plus, you do want to have some free time to see friends and relieve some stress. There is always some event, speaker, etc. happening at Penn which is an experience you’ll want to be a part of.
8. Learn from your mistakes
Simply think back to your past semesters and determine what you liked/disliked or what you would have done differently. If you had a mediocre schedule or dreaded your classes, maybe it’s time that you made a change.