So you’ve served your time. You made it to all your 8 ams (more or less) and you have dealt with the professor who assigns so much homework that all-nighters have become the norm instead of the occasional annoyance. Your schedule really, really sucked. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
With scheduling just around the corner, it is easy to get overwhelmed and push off finding those classes for next semester until… well, the day before your scheduling time. And by that point it’s too late; your fate is sealed, and you’re stuck in the vicious bad schedule cycle.
Step 1: Find out what classes you need to take. This may seem like a stupid place to start, because, obviously, everyone should know this before picking out their classes… right? Wrong. So many people start planning their schedules and pick courses they think they’re supposed to take or that their friends have taken. Check out Degreeworks or download the requirements lists online! The handy website lists everything you need to take before graduation in a checklist format.
Step 2: Pick 5 classes but make sure they’re balanced. I’m going to tell you right now that if you decide to smush finance, accounting, and economics into one semester so you can do the “fun stuff” later, you’re gonna have a hard time. Sure, there are a ton of courses that everyone has to take that are going to be hard (I’m looking at you, microeconomics). If you sprinkle them in with courses you will enjoy or other less extensive courses, you’re not going to feel overwhelmed with work.
Step 3: Pick teachers that you can see yourself liking. RateMyProfessors.com is a good place to start. It can give you a sense of how they are in the classroom. Most people talk about how many tests were given or how the teacher acted; compare that to your learning style. But don’t forget the power of talking to your friends and classmates. If they’ve had them firsthand, they’re your best resource.
Step 4: Pick times that are best for your learning. No one wants the 8am class. Or the 9am for that matter. That much is obvious. However, can you focus better before lunch or after? Will a night class be the death of you, or is that your prime learning hour? Be mindful of how you learn and what times you will want class-free. Sure, no one likes to wake up before noon in college, but think of all the basketball games you’ll miss if you have all night classes!
Step 5: Take your five classes, with two or three time options, to your advisor. Oh the advisor… everyone hates this part of the process. It’s hard to get a meeting, even though it’s mandatory, and sometimes you don’t really know what they’re talking about. But trust me; after doing steps 1-4, your advisor will be much more helpful. They’ll see all the hard work you put in and offer minor suggestions to make sure you get where you need to be.
Step 6: Sign up! Take a deep breath. It’s over, and you’re all set for a your best semester yet. Now, that wasn’t so bad, right?