Tips for Creating Your Community College Class Schedule

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Building a functional class schedule is an essential part of the community college experience. Pick up some tips and strategies to make sure that your schedule doesn't leave you overwhelmed.

Community College Schedules

When it comes to creating your schedule in community college, there's a lot more at play than simply choosing the right classes. Almost as important as which classes you'll take, is when you'll take them. A poorly crafted schedule can leave you overworked, stressed, and unable to compete assignments on time.

A proper class schedule should satisfy both academic and personal requirements; it should not only ensure that you take all the necessary courses for your major but also present them in a manageable format.

Planner

The following are a few tips and strategies for students who may be feeling a little lost. Read on to learn more about crafting the perfect class schedule.

Ask for Help

This may seem like a given, but it bears repeating for those who may not be aware of the plethora of services that community colleges offer to their students.

While college is a period of life marked by independence and self-reliance, it doesn't mean you need to go it completely alone. Most schools have a number of academic advisors who can lend their knowledge and experience should you need it.

Advisor with student

The fact that you're reading this article proves that you're not afraid to seek aid as you schedule your classes. Your school employs trained professionals whose sole function is to assist students in your same situation; it would be a serious oversight to not take advantage of the insights these advisors can provide.

Be Self-Aware

While community college is a very different experience from high school, it is not an entirely different entity. Yes, things are different, but it's not like you'll need to adjust to a radically different educational experience. The same skills and abilities you've already acquired in previous schooling will certainly serve you well.

One such ability is your self-awareness. No one knows you as well as you know yourself, and you can apply this insight when building a class schedule. Consider your learning preferences and take them into account as you create your schedule. Do you prefer morning or evening classes? Would you rather take one class per day five days a week, or take two or three classes per day for only two days a week?

Exam on calendar

Every student has his or her own unique approach when it comes to scheduling, so take the time to devise a schedule that best suits your learning style.

Keep Other Commitments in Mind

Community college is rarely the only major time commitment for most students. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, between 2011 and 2012, 40% of part-time students work full-time, and more than two-thirds of all students are employed in some capacity. In addition to work, many students have other major commitments, ranging from household chores to caring for children.

As you build your schedule, don't forget about these other obligations. If Mondays are usually busy, try to schedule your courses towards the end of the week. If you work nights, aim for morning classes to avoid conflict.

For more on handling schedule conflicts, refer to the section below for information about online learning.

Remember to Sign Up

Unless you're a freshman, you're probably aware of how quickly spots can fill up for a course, especially if it is a popular offering. Even the most perfectly crafted schedule is meaningless if you fail to sign up for your courses! Double- and triple-check the registration dates, and be sure that you do not miss your assigned time, or else all your planning will be meaningless.

Don't Neglect the Electives!

Whether you're pursuing an associate's degree or a certificate, you'll need to satisfy several academic requirements before you complete your program. While certificate and diploma programs tend to focus exclusively on courses related to the major, degree programs usually feature elective coursework, in which students have some freedom to pursue topics in almost every academic field.

Making a schedule

When planning your schedule, be sure to include these courses. While these courses may feel less important than the ones required for your major, take care not to overlook them. Electives are a mandatory part of most degree programs, and failure to take them may prevent you from graduating.

Explore Flexible & Online Classes

As mentioned above, the life of the average community college student is a busy one. Major time commitments represent a serious distraction and can easily disrupt or even postpone your plans to graduate on time.

If you're anxious about scheduling conflicts, you should definitely look into your school's scheduling options. In addition to regular daytime classes, most community colleges offer evening and weekend classes that allow you to build a schedule that won't interrupt your work life.

If getting to campus is too difficult, you can also complete programs online and save yourself the hassle of physically attending altogether. If you prefer at least some level of in-person instruction, there are also hybrid programs that feature a blend of digital and traditional learning. No matter what format you prefer, diverse scheduling options make it possible for even the busiest students to earn a degree or certificate.

Happy organized student

By building an effective class schedule that caters to your academic and personal needs, you can ensure that your community college experience will be a smooth and enjoyable one. Good luck!

By Bill Sands
December 2016
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