Don’t you just love the time of year where you’re drowning in homework, studying most of your days away, attempting to get the proper amount of sleep, trying to have a social life and then on top of it all, having to scramble to pick classes for next semester? Yeah, me neither. Picking classes is stressful, difficult and sometimes it doesn’t feel like there is any way to still these class selection fears. However, there’s still hope. Here are some tips to make it a bit of smoother process:
1. Start Early
This isn’t a mere homework assignment. If you procrastinate, you’re going to regret it. These classes will have a huge impact on the flow of your next semester, so do that research. I know it’s stressful, and the time of the year where you need to pick classes is stressful. How can you think about classes next semester when you have so much pre and post Thanksgiving break work to do right now? Get it started early, and enjoy your turkey and the start of the holly jolly season in peace.
2. Make a Graduation Plan
Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to major/minor/core requirements. Creating a rough plan for your entire undergraduate career is not easy and obviously very tentative, but doing this will give you a good idea on whether you graduate on time. I’m sure because of the changing class schedules and availability, the rough plan won’t ever truly be complete. At least you’ll know your progress with major requirements and core curriculum. One less long-term stressor, right?
3. Prioritise Your Schedule
Everyone in college, no matter how class selection works for their specific university, prioritizes their class selection different. Some prefer to pick classes based on how good or bad a professor is, some prefer to prioritize how interesting a course seems and others just want to make sure all their classes run at certain times. All of these are important to consider, but I recommend picking one or two that are most important to you and sticking with it. It saved me from stress-tears a few times during class selection.
4. Know Your Major
If you’re going to be strategic about class selection, know your major requirements. Core and minor requirements are important, too, but you should cater your schedule to what matters most to you: your major. These are the classes where you get the chance to decide what you want to do with your life. You want to enjoy those, right? Read those course descriptions.
5. Ask for Recommendations
I’ve had some mixed emotions about this because I’ve taken multiple classes that many of my friends hated and turned out to absolutely adore. In fact, last semester I went out on a limb and took a class that no one I knew enjoyed. I loved it so much, I switched my major. However, sometimes getting some insight on how a class runs or what a professor is like can help you build your ideal schedule.
6. Ask Your Professors
Sometimes it is best to leave it to the professionals. If you really enjoy a certain professor, they probably know the ins and outs of your major. They most likely have colleagues they recommend. Last semester I took a professor who recommended a professor with a similar teaching style. It worked incredibly well and helped me adjust to the new class.
7. Befriend Your Advisor
I know all schools do things differently, but at my school, an advisor can make or break you. Usually the advisors here at BC are professors and department heads, so they are knowledgeable. These are the people who can do you favors and help you get into classes, even if they are closed. Best of all, with a good relationship, they truly want to help you. And any question you have involving scheduling, they probably already know the answer.
8. Know When to Register for Each Class
No one wants to miss out on that one class you seriously NEED to take. Some classes only run in the fall, some only in the spring and some only run sporadically over the years. Be aware of this, and get in touch with the class professors to see if you should allot time in your schedule to get into the class.
9. Keep an Open Mind
Classes you want will fill up, and you may have to put off that course you’ve been trying to get out of the way. Give yourself enough time to have a backup plan, a backup backup plan and sometimes, you might even need a backup backup backup plan. It’s going to happen. Accept it. Move on. You’ll get that class next time. Maybe. Probably? Hopefully.
10. Realize that You’ll Adapt
Just because you may not get your ideal schedule in terms of classes, you can and will get used to it. Once you get yourself into a routine and get through the first few week, everything will fall into place. You’ll get familiar with the class, the professor and the people in it, no matter how much you may dislike any of these. After the add/drop period, you’re kind of stuck there. Might as well make the best of it, right?