One of the biggest differences between college and high school is that no one gives you a schedule. The choice is yours, which can be a blessing as well as a curse. Before you go in blind and select whatever courses appeal to you by name, it’s important to think about what sort of schedule this might mean for you. Here are a few sage words of advice for getting started.
If you know which course you want or need to take, peruse the different options.
In school, many general courses will be taught during multiple time slots and sometimes may even have multiple professors. If you have a course in mind, check to see what your options may be. Decide which time slot best fits your desired schedule (do you prefer morning or night classes?) or, if you have no preference, do some research on the different professors. RateMyProfessors.com is a widely-used resource among college students, though you should of course be taking the ratings with a grain of salt.
Strike a balance.
Don’t want to take classes on Fridays? That’s understandable, but that doesn’t mean you should be consolidating all your classes into Tuesdays and Thursdays. Having five days off per week does not necessarily mean your schedule will be more manageable. In fact, you might just wear yourself out. Feel free to set limits on which days and times you would and would not like to have classes, but remain flexible. Try to spread your courses out across multiple days, and give yourself breaks in-between classes if you’d like to study during the day. You could even consider taking some of your college courses online to give yourself a more freed-up schedule.
Know your requirements.
Every program has a set of requirements that need to be filled in order to graduate. It’s better to take all your prerequisites and get them out of the way so that you can get your upper-level courses in during your junior and senior years. Don’t front-load on the fun classes and electives – spread them out so that as you get into your more difficult courses, you don’t feel overwhelmed with work .Most importantly, get your necessary courses out of the way as soon as you have the opportunity to ensure you graduate on time.
Think critically about important skills.
See if you can fit in courses that aren’t your strong suit, even if you don’t necessarily need them. It’ll make you more well-rounded, and more likely to succeed in the rest of your college career, if you face your weak points head-on. You’ll need certain skills in your college career whether you like it or not.