Scheduling classes can be a nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. In fact, I’m sure we all have our fair share of horror stories about mistakes made when scheduling classes. Today, I’m sharing with you seven tips I swear by when organising my timetable for a new semester.
- Be prepared. First thing you need to do before enrolling into any class is check out you’re requirements. Is there a class you need to take this semester as a prerequisite to next semester? Is there classes you need to take as core requirements? Is there a recommended elective? All of these things are important to know before even enrolling. After you’ve enrolled, it’s also a good idea to check out the individual class requirements. Most schools have a subject database on their website where you can see what kind of contact hours are required for each subject, the learning outcomes and the types of assessment. I find this important to know as I can kind of work on the effort a subject is going to need and as a whole, if it’s better for me to schedule a day off or if it’s better to go into university more but have shorter days.
- Be realistic. For the love of stationery, if you schedule a three or four hour break and think it’s a good idea because you’ll go to the library and study, you’re fooling yourself. Long breaks are boring and it’s entirely too tempting to go home and skip out on your last class under the ruse that you’ll work at home. You won’t. Similarly, if you know you can’t handle an eight hour day, don’t do it to yourself because all of your friends are. Be realistic, do what you need to do. In the end, your grades will thank you for it.
- 8AM classes aren’t as bad as they seem. Maybe it’s because I’m a person of routine and like my early morning but honestly, 8AM classes are some of my favourites. I find I do best in them because I’m alert and fresh and take in information so much easier than I do at say, midday. I also find I’m generally more productive on days I start early!
- Take a break. Okay, this is an important one if you want to minimise the number of days you spend on campus. Don’t overload yourself and risk burning out by not giving yourself time to rest. If you’ve got an eight hour day, you’re going to be tired, brain dead and hungry by your last class. Take an hour in the middle somewhere to get some Vitamin D, take a mental break, and find some food. You’ll probably still be tired but you’ll find that you’ll be a bit more alert and readily taking in information than if you were to go back to back for an entire day.
- Get in early. If you want the best chance at getting your planned timetable, get in early. I’m not kidding. You want to be logged in and ready to go at your scheduled time. Class scheduling is no joke in university. Also, if you find yourself in a position where you’re allocated into a class that you can’t attend – get onto it straight away and email your subject coordination. Don’t just assume it can be fixed later or wait for someone else to drop out of the class you want, other wise you might be stuck in a class you can’t attend!
- Be disciplined. Okay, I’m gonna be real honest here and say that last semester I was anything but disciplined and by week eight had basically dropped all of my lectures in favour for working on assessment. Not the greatest move on my behalf but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you do get stuck with a horrible timetable or the best you can do isn’t what works best for you – be disciplined. Go to all of your classes, resist the temptation to go home early or go to uni late. The easiest way to a good GPA is attending class. Plus, you’re probably paying a whole lot of money for those classes – don’t waste it!
- Know yourself and how you work. If you know you’d sleep through an 8AM lab, don’t schedule it in thinking this semester will be different. If you know you can ace a long day, go ahead, try it out. The best thing you can do when scheduling classes is knowing your workload, how your work and what will work best for you. In the end, this is your schedule and doing it to work around someone else or for someone else isn’t going to help you at all.
I’ve just finished planning my schedule! Fingers crossed I can get what I want! Do you have any tips for scheduling classes? Or for new students in general? Leave them in the comments below!