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Mental Health

How To Create A Balanced Course Load On The Quarter System

Though I’m only entering my second year, creating a schedule for myself for four quarters has taught me a lot about how to create a balanced course load. Since the quarter system allows a student to take at least nine courses each school year, it’s important to plan ahead, too. As pass-times approach, hopefully this advice can be helpful for anyone unfamiliar with the quarter system or a student who struggles with burnout each quarter.


Variety Is Key!

Although it may be tempting to take three major prerequisite classes in one quarter, having variety in your schedule is so important. Unless a class you absolutely love won’t be taught for another three years, most pre-requisite courses are taught every quarter. Learning about a variety of different subjects will help you stay engaged and interested! UCSB has so many amazing courses to offer, and it never hurts to take a class that’s outside your comfort zone.

Do Your Research!

How many times have you rushed to add classes to your schedule and realized one class was actually much harder than you imagined? Ratemyprofessors.com may be heavily biased, but there are often a few helpful reviews! If you’re feeling hesitant about taking a class, ask around or even email the professor for more information!

Have A Healthy Mix of GE and Prerequisite Courses

Each quarter, I aim for two General Ed’s and one prerequisite course. Every major is different, and the art history major has fewer pre-requisites compared to others. Some GE’s you might want to get out of the way first, such as the literature or writing requirement, and then save a fun class in the arts for your last two years in college! If a class does not fulfill any requirements, perhaps save it for your senior year or ask when it will be offered again!

Finding a balanced course load can be difficult, especially if you have many prerequisites to take. However, there are many resources available at UCSB and other schools to help you! I recommend speaking with an advisor in your major’s department; their services are so valuable. Let’s finish this quarter strong!

Stephanie Gerson is a first-year student studying Art History at UC Santa Barbara. She is from Palo Alto, California and she is passionate about sustainability, fashion, fitness, and vegan cooking. In her spare time, Stephanie loves going on bike rides around campus, catching up with friends, or spending hours completing her latest embroidery piece!
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