You’ve probably already scheduled your classes for the upcoming semester, but maybe you haven’t. Even if you have, it’s not too late to make changes if you feel you’ve made a mistake or have taken time to reconsider your choices over break. Most colleges and universities have a drop/add period during the first week or so of the semester for students to make adjustments to their schedules.
Follow these tips to be sure your schedule is right for you.
Don’t Go It Alone
First and foremost, be sure to talk to your academic adviser when making your schedule. Not all students are required to obtain an adviser’s signature when registering for classes; sometimes only freshmen or students on academic probation need to have a signed registration form. But it’s always a wise idea to talk to an adviser just to make sure you’ve chosen a well-balanced course load.
Academic advisers are professionals who are paid to help students navigate the sometimes complex process of scheduling, and they often have some very good insights you may not have been aware of. Making an appointment with your adviser can save you lots of headache down the road.
Mix It Up
A good rule of thumb is to take a variety of classes. It may not be the best idea to load up on math and science classes and forget all about the humanities like English or Art. For one thing, a semester full of one type of coursework may prove to be too challenging, especially if you choose classes that aren’t your best subject in the first place.
You may wonder who would do that, but I’ve seen it happen. For example, nursing students are often required to take many science courses. I’ve seen students try to take Anatomy and Physiology in the same semester as Chemistry. Not a good plan. A better idea would be to split them up or even to take a basic Biology class to brush up on the concepts before tackling Anatomy and Physiology, one of the toughest courses offered at many schools.
In addition, if you take all of your favorite courses together, you’ll end up with a lot of classes you may not be thrilled with later on. Don’t laugh. I’ve seen students who were about to graduate taking an entire course load of humanities classes in their last semester in order to meet their curriculum’s requirements.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Okay, I know most college students don’t like eight o’clock classes, but you may not be able to avoid them if you hope to fit classes in around a job or other activities. Just because you’re able to make your own class schedule doesn’t mean that schedule will always be ideal. If you have a job and other activities or you’re a commuter student, your best bet will be to think of all of the things you do during the week and make a plan of action regarding the best way to make your classes work with your life. Don’t forget to allow for study time.
As a former academic adviser, I could go on and on about this topic. Please leave a comment if you would like an answer to something I haven’t covered here or feel free to contact me.