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Advice for Creating Your College Class Schedule

Aug 15, 2007

Scheduling your college classes can be a dizzying experience. Some schools offer thousands of class options, which is wonderful, but having so many choices can make it very difficult to figure out what you should take and when you should take it. Before you waste any time (not to mention tuition money), check out these tips on creating a college class schedule.

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Fast Facts

  • The average student takes 12-16 units, which is considered a 'full load'.
  • A part time student would take about 8 units.
  • The maximum amount of units a student can take is about 20-24 units.
  • The average freshman usually begins with about 12 units.

Source: CollegeBoard.com

College Class Scheduling Tips

Planning your schedule is an important part of your college career. Of course, balancing major required courses and general education courses can be challenging. The following tips for planning your schedule will make things a whole lot easier:

Speak With Your Academic Adviser

Make an appointment to speak with your academic adviser during your first semester or quarter. By meeting with your adviser, you will be able to find out what courses you will need to receive your degree. He or she may also be able to recommend what prerequisites you will need for certain classes as well suggest when you should take these classes. But it shouldn't end there; consider meeting with your advisor at the beginning and at the end of each academic year.

Decide on How Many Units to Take

Deciding how many units to take varies depending on the student and the major. As you decide how many classes you want to take, you should consider how long you want to be in college. Do you have any other commitments like extracurricular activities? Do you have a part-time job? And most importantly, how much can you handle? There's no point in overloading units if this means you won't be able to do your best.

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Make Multiple Schedules

Before you register, you should think about looking at the list of classes a week or two in advance. You can check for the catalog of classes either online or at your campus bookstore. After flipping through the list, you should pick at least two extra classes that can act as your back up in case you're unable to get the classes you need. Try to make sure that these extra classes meet some requirements; you don't want to waste your time.

Additional Tips

  • Making sure you have enough time between classes is a must. You don't want to have to rush from one end of campus to another in the dead of winter or the heat of summer.
  • Picking the right professors is as important as choosing the right classes. Some professors are easy going and others will make you break your neck just to get a C. You can scope out professors and average grades at pickaprof.com.
  • Beware of biting off more than you chew. Taking too many hard courses at once will put strain on your life and your grades.
  • Utilizing AP credits, placement exams, and any other previously obtained requirements you can muster will save you time and money on college classes.
  • Find out from current students which classes require extra cramming time, and then schedule accordingly.
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