College is great for a lot of reasons. The college experience offers activities around the clock, puts you face-to-face with likeminded people in your age group, and helps you make the leap from awkward teenager to accomplished – and, okay, still a bit awkward – adult. Another reason to love college? The complete and utter control you have over your class schedule.
Unlike High School You, College You calls the shots when it comes to which classes you take and when. Always hated English classes? You can choose to skip them completely, after getting your core requirements in. Not a fan of upper-level math? Assuming that you’re not eyeing a career in a related field, you’ll never have to touch Advanced Calculus. Pretty amazing, right?
Of course, not all facets of college scheduling are rainbows and butterflies. Not only is it competitive to get every single class you want or need, but it can also be difficult to arrange each class perfectly. Some semesters, you’ll feel like you’re playing a game of Tetris that you are unable to crack— especially if you’ve got a full personal life outside of school. But, don’t lose hope just yet! There are ways to strategically stack your classes so that they make the most sense for you.
After all, you’ll be more likely to crush your college experience if you’ve got an accommodating class schedule that fits all of your needs. So, without further ado, uCribs presents 5 stress-free ways to schedule your classes.
Pick class times that work with your personal schedule.
Although the majority of your peers might stick to the “school-sleep-eat” routine, not everyone adheres to such a schedule. If you’ve got an off-campus internship, a part-time job, regular babysitting gigs, or perhaps, all three, you’re probably concerned about finding balance with it all. We applaud your dedication – but, at the same time, we totally understand your struggle to make all the pieces of your life fit together cohesively. That’s why it’s so important that you factor in your other obligations when arranging your class schedule.
We’ve all fallen victim to that superhero mentality – you know, when you assume that you can handle every little thing that comes your way without so much as a missed deadline. Sadly, though, this simply isn’t a sustainable way to carry out your college days—or, life in general. Haphazardly running from place to place is the perfect recipe for burnout, and don’t even get us started on the negative consequences your grades may sustain once you reach that point. Avoid this scenario at all costs by selecting classes that you can realistically attend without having to shirk your other responsibilities.
Consider which time slots will be most conducive to your productivity.
When you’re in high school, you don’t have much choice other than to wake up at the crack of dawn – okay, maybe not that early, but still – in order to make your 8:00 a.m. classes. From there, you’d toil all day long, until the early afternoon. And, funnily enough, you’d sometimes feel at your sharpest just minutes before hearing that final bell. In that moment, you might have wished you could swap your bleary-eyed morning classes for some scheduled later in the day.
Well, as a college student, you have every option to make your wish for a different schedule a new reality. Instead of automatically signing up for the earliest classes possible, reflect on the times of day when you feel at your most productive. In other words, if you greet every morning with boundless energy, go ahead and spring for those 8:00 a.m. slots. If you tend to feel at your best just after lunch or in the evening, choose afternoon or night classes where possible. There’s no wrong way to arrange your courses, as long as you’re keeping your personal preferences in mind– and, in turn, setting yourself up for academic success.
Don’t forget to schedule periodic breaks in-between classes.
Take it from us: too much schoolwork and too few breaks make for a too stressed-out, hungry, and anxiety-ridden college student. Although you might think that it’s better to fill your lunch period with one more course— all in the name of going full “beast mode” on your graduation requirements— we’ve been there, too. And, we know that this plan only sounds good in theory. In reality, routinely skipping lunch and other breaks will exhaust you faster than you might expect. Hello! Nutrients and hydration, anyone?
It’s absolutely crucial that you take care of yourself while you’re in college, especially when immersed in an environment known for easily spreading sickness. Allowing yourself time in between classes is the best way to ward off physical, mental, and emotional strain before it gets the best of you. Not to mention, giving yourself small blocks of free time will encourage you to become more motivated when it’s actually time to get down to business. So, don’t feel guilty about meeting friends for lunch or taking coffee breaks. Hey, it’s just as important that you enjoy college, as it is to work through your coursework. So, don’t shortchange yourself in the socialization department by overloading your daily schedule with an overwhelming list of to-dos!
Think carefully about weekend and night course options.
If you’ve got a full schedule of personal obligations – like a full-time job, for example – then you might have resigned yourself to taking weekend or night courses almost exclusively. Sometimes, this is just how it has to be, unfortunately. No one said college is a cakewalk, and certain sacrifices will have to be made in order to obtain that highly-coveted degree. However, if you’re eyeing those 7:00 p.m. courses in an attempt to sleep in every morning and laze around your apartment until the early afternoon, you might want to rethink this stance on the matter.
We’re not saying that “after-hours” courses aren’t every bit as worthwhile as those taken during regular weekdays. What we are saying, though, is that you should approach this structure with care. Evening classes are typically longer and more intensive than morning and afternoon ones, since you only meet with your professor once or twice a week. This will seriously cut into your time for nightly study sessions or kicking back with friends after a long day spent on-campus. The same applies to weekend courses. Let’s face it: you’re going to be really bummed when you can’t join in on weekend plans, trips, or get-togethers with your closest pals. So, think carefully about these types of offerings before you plunge into a non-traditional class schedule.
Don’t wait to schedule a meeting with your academic advisor.
You may be fired up to start scheduling next semester’s courses, but if you haven’t yet arranged a time to meet face-to-face with your academic advisor, you should prioritize that, like, yesterday. Why? Well, meeting with the faculty member, who must approve of your class choices ahead of enrolling, is not only a necessary step of the process, but also a great way to kick-start your scheduling as early as possible and landing all those highly sought-after courses.
Nothing stings quite like realizing you must wait another semester to take that history class you’ve been itching to get in – and, if you need to take certain courses in order to fulfill degree requirements, this could spell disaster for your plans to graduate on time. So, minimize your risk of missing out on the classes you need and schedule an in-person meeting with your advisor, as soon as registration begins. Most will send out an email to alert you the enrollment period has begun, encouraging sign-ups for one-on-one meetings. Just don’t put scheduling your appointment on the backburner, or you could seriously miss out—and that’s no understatement!
Need to enroll in the classes you need for your next semester of college? Don’t freak out! Designing your college days doesn’t have to be the stress-filled ordeal you might be imagining. The key is to pay attention to your personal needs and find a way to stack your classes around them. From honoring your brain’s peak activity times to scheduling a sit-down with your academic advisor, you hold the key to your destiny. Just follow uCribs’ guide to class scheduling and soon, you’ll have your daily routine on lock, with the right amount of time to pursue your necessary coursework—without forgetting about some much-deserved downtime.