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10 Steps to a Perfect Class Schedule

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Each semester you have chance to create your schedule for the next few months. Which classes you will study and when you will attend is up to you, well to a certain point. As I finish up my undergraduate degree here are the steps I have learned to get the best schedule possible.

1. Begin Early

This one is a bit of a no brainer but you need to look at classes and plan out your schedule long before your registration time comes up. This will help you get the jump on other students and sign up for the classes you want.

2. Realize Your Limitations

So you want the small, fun class, taught by the great professor? The problem is that there are a bunch of students who want the same class and many of them may be in a higher school year than you which means they have priority in choosing classes (they are allowed to sign up for classes before you). If you are a senior you can get any class that you want but there may be a credit ceiling you need to be aware of if you want to avoid trouble with administration. Either way, realize the demand for classes and your capacity to take them.

3. Set Your Priorities

What do you hope to do with your schedule? Some students take it slow out of enjoyment or because they are working a part time job and end up taking only 12 credits. I have had fellow students take 24 credits at once. The most I have ever taken was 17 while I was working part-time. Think of the lifestyle that you will have over the next few months and what matters most to you. If there are responsibilities outside of school be aware of the impact they will have on your grades.

4. Get Ready to Take Notes

Before you look through classes figure out a system of taking notes so you can juggle different ideas. This can be as simple as a piece of paper or paper calendar. You can also use Google Calendar or Outlooks Calendar and layer possible classes on the different days of a week in order to see how they line up. This is going to be essential as you will not be able to memorize all the class schedules and piece them together in your head.

5. Start with the Necessities

There are classes that you are required to take for your program and GE requirements. Hopefully you have created a graduation plan an d know what classes you need to take each year in order to graduate on time. If there are more advanced classes you want to take in the future make sure that you plan to take any prereqs beforehand. Find the days and times for these needed classes and put them down in your notes first as they are less flexible.

6. Check the Requirements

From the essentials you can move on to other classes you would like to take. Go through the list of possible classes and layer on them on each other in your notes or virtual calendar in order to see if they will work around your other meetings and that they don’t overlap each other. Make sure to check the pre-requirements for each class along with the materials needed to take the classes. If you don’t want to drop 450 bucks for an SLR camera for your Intro to Photo class make sure to read the details.

7. Add Your Classes at Midnight

By this point you should have come up with your perfect schedule along with one or two variations of the schedule in case you can’t get into the classes you want. Sit with your computer open and connected to the internet and wait. Spend your time with friends or watch a move but make sure to set an alarm for midnight on the eve of your priority date. Make sure you are logged in before midnight and at the stroke of the hour quickly add your classes (start with the essentials and work your way down). If you find a class is filled, add yourself on the waitlist and move on to adding more classes. Use your 1st and second schedule variations to get the best schedule you can. You will probably beat all the other ill-prepared students who are still trying to figure out what classes they need.

8. Jump on the Waitlist

I mentioned jumping on the waitlist. There is usually no limit to the number of classes you can waitlist so there is no worry in doing so. If you are added later on as people change schedules then great, if not you have a couple backups. If there is not waitlist option then you need to check regularly to see if someone has dropped the class so you can add. I had a clever roommate who created a bot that would try and add the class for him every thirty seconds (so he always got his class), but then the school added the waitlist option ruining his system.

9. Day of Class Sign ups

If there is a class you are dying for or one you definitely need head to the class on the first day and grab a seat. Stay the whole class and then speak with the professor concerning your desperate desire to add the class. Hopefully your professor will give you an add code to use. Commonly, many people will use this same tactic to get in the class so the professor may choose to withhold the add key until the nest week of class. Make sure to attend every class till then as he is testing your dedication.

10. Take a Step Back

Hopefully you got all the classes that you wanted and are now sitting on a perfect schedule, but for a moment make sure to step back and consider the classes you are taking and your lifestyle. Can you put in all hours, are there pursuits beyond school you want to spend time on, are you getting married soon? Before the add/drop deadline make sure everything is good, and that the classes are a right fit and remember to add or drop the classes you had waitlisted on. Regardless of your college or whether you are studying Healthcare Administration or Art, hopefully these steps get you the perfect class schedule.

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