Hello friends! I just wrapped up my freshman year of college (time really flies by!) and I also recently signed up for classes for next semester. I want to share how I made my schedule that
included a lunch break, all of my required courses, and still was able to make my classes be over with by 2pm so I have time for clubs, work, and personal time! Signing up for classes can be struggle. I had to sign up late due to a change of plans, so all of the initial times I wanted for course weren't there anymore. However, I was able to still create a schedule that I like and that still allows me to get everything I want done in a day! So, keep reading to learn some things to consider when making your optimal college schedule!
Look at your four year plan and talk with your advisor
The very first thing I did was sit with my advisor and discuss the four year plan for mechanical engineering students. We talked about what classes I have credit for and what classes I needed to take next semester. Your advisors are there to help you graduate and get in the classes you need, so definitely take time to schedule an appointment with them! Sometimes, they can even get you into classes that are technically filled if you really need it to graduate on time, so be sure to connect with them. Checking your four year plan also ensures that you are not going to accidentally skip a required course or take classes in the wrong order.
Try and sign up for classes as soon as your registration time is open
I thought I was going to be on a co-op for next semester, so I didn't register for classes. However, because of COVID, it got cancelled, so I ended up signing up for classes way past my open registration date. This wasn't ideal because most of the time slots I initially found were taken by students who already registered. That being said, be sure to sign up for classes as soon as your registration portal opens. The longer you wait, the higher the chances are that you won't get the class that you are looking for.
Consider if you are a morning person or a night owl
I am a morning person all the way, and like to be in my bed at least watching tv or relaxing by 9pm. That being said, I made sure that all of my courses were scheduled for the late morning/afternoon time frame. Consider when you are most productive, and make your classes align with these times. I know I would be not paying attention in any classes past 3pm, so I made sure to not enroll in courses that went beyond this time. Be sure to think about what times you can actually get up in the morning to make it on time to lecture. I've been avidly avoiding any 8am classes to the best of my ability (because I do like sleep), but I start my day at 9am instead!
Consider when your clubs or extracurricular activities meet (including work)
I was involved in two major clubs last year that took up my evenings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. That being said, I tried to avoid heavy class loads on these days. If you are able to find out in advance, try and schedule your classes around your clubs and work if possible. This ensures that you at least have time to relax and truly focus on whatever activity you are involved with. Unless you are extremely happy with running around all day, definitely don't try and book yourself back to back until bedtime!
Don't forget to save time for eating and personal time
One of the first habits that went out the window when college started for me was eating properly! I would sometimes skip breakfast and sometimes my classes were back to back way past lunch time, so I wouldn't eat my first meal until 1pm! Not healthy! Try and save at least a 30 minute block for you to grab lunch and breakfast each day. Additionally, make sure your schedule isn't so packed that you don't have time to hang with friends or relax! Socializing is part of the college experience so be sure to save some time for it. As I mentioned earlier, I did my best to avoid heavy back to back classes so that I could have a mental break in between them.
I hope these scheduling tricks and thinking points will help you make a schedule that works for you! Scheduling for classes requires more than just thinking about what you have to take each semester. It requires reflection on what you do in your personal time and outside commitments as well!