How To Build The Perfect Schedule: Spring 2020

Class Offerings 

No matter what year you may be, there will always be prerequisites to advance to high-level classes. It is important and extremely stress-saving to get these out of the way as early in your major as possible. By doing this, you will not have to deal with the pain in the butt of not being able to take your desired classes because you have a prerequisite holding you back. 

The next step is to check their availability on the scheduling platform. At WVU, students can see if the class is offered in the Fall, Spring or Summer. If you notice that a certain class only shows their availability in the Spring, make sure to prioritize that class because it will not be offered during the Fall semester. At the same time, if you have overlapping classes, do not worry too much and drop the class that will be offered the following semester. 

Once you have narrowed down the classes you want to take, make sure to check the professor’s rating in Rate My Professor.

Rate My Professor​ Rate My Professor is the platform that turns the tables as we know them. On this website, college students are the ones evaluating and ranking professors. Professors are evaluated on overall rating, level of difficulty, probability of retaking the professor, utilization of textbook and attendance requirement. For general rating and level of difficulty, professors are ranked on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Aside from the website’s general ranking criteria, students are allowed to type answers to justify their ratings, along with optional tags. Such tasks are regarding feedback, accessibility outside of class and reading load, among others. Having said that, is Rate My Professor really an accurate representation of professors at universities? 

Just like bad grades do not equal bad students, bad ratings do not mean bad professors. Students rate professors poorly because they do not meet their criteria of a good professor. Often times this means the student actually had to put in some effort in the class, there was a reading load, attendance was mandatory or the textbook was expensive. So before crossing off a professor because of their general rating, take a few minutes to actually read the justification. You will notice that most of the time it is rubbish from students who only want easy A’s.

You will pretty much be able to walk into class the first day of class as if you are retaking the class with all the information provided in Rate My Professor. Students will point out if professors give pop quizzes and how many tests, assignments and essays are given throughout the semester. The most important thing to look for is extra credit. You want to be able to have some flexibility in your grade, especially during your higher-level classes. 

That all sounds wonderful and extremely helpful but do not solely count on Rate My Professor when choosing classes.    

If you have friends in your field or related to your field, ask them for the professors that they have already taken. This is where having friends in years above you really comes in handy!

Building Your Schedule 

This is probably the most tedious part of registration. Once you have narrowed down the classes you want to register for and have insured you have researched the professor teaching the class, you have to build a schedule that best suits you. There are a lot of factors that play into creating the perfect schedule such as time of day, duration of class and breaks between classes. 

Time of Day

When creating your schedule, you have to be honest with yourself. Will you really make that 8 a.m. lecture? If you are a morning person, more power to you. Sign up for early classes because they will most likely be the least crowded. If not, try signing up for lectures starting after 10 a.m. This will give you time to wake up and prepare for the day. 

Duration & Frequency of Class

Everyone has different levels of mental stamina. If you are someone that has a short mental stamina, do not choose the 3-4 hour lecture just because you will only have to attend class once a week. I have made this mistake twice already -- it does not get pretty as the semester progresses. If you actually think about it, most classes offered only last 1 hour and 15 minutes, so by signing up for classes that are offered semiweekly, you will spend less time in class. However, if you are the type of student that despises attending lectures, try to avoid at all costs signing up for Friday classes or classes that are offered more than three times a week. By maintaining just the right balance of lecture time, you will ensure that actually attend your classes. 

Breaks Between Classes

When building your schedule, take into consideration the distance between your classes. Your lower level classes will most likely be scattered around campus because you will be taking classes across different colleges. It does become a lot less spread out during your higher-level classes since they will most likely be in your major’s college. If you are the type of student that needs a break in between classes to breathe and mentally prepare yourself for your next class, do not try to avoid that. That time can be extremely important to stay sane in college. However, if you are a student that just wants to get everything out of the way, sign up for back to back classes, but still make sure to give yourself some time to get from one class to another.

Bonus Advice: Working Students

If you work, especially off-campus, try to register for classes that are offered on the same day, so you can work on the other days. This will be extremely helpful because you will not have to be going back and forth between work and lectures. At the same time, this will help you focus on both individually. Your brain and body will get accustomed to your day on campus and on the other days to your days at work. 

Good luck during registration and just remember, leave time for extracurriculars. You do not make to make your entire college experience solely about academics. You got this!

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Edited by Sydney Keener