Creating the perfect class schedule is a real balancing act. We all learn differently and have our own strengths and weaknesses, so a one-size-fits-all approach never works. So how do you do it? Consider our tips when creating your perfect class schedule.
Take the Right Classes
While your schedule’s timing matters, your course content is crucial. Identify any prerequisite classes for earning your degree and consider where you’ll place them first. You should also note any prerequisite classes for courses you’ll take in future. Prioritize these classes, too. Completing prerequisite courses within your first year or two of college works best, as it opens more opportunities for upper division classes as you approach graduation. It also reduces the chances you will overlook a course required for your degree.
Most prerequisite classes run at different times, so consider which work best for you. Then, build around them. While taking some courses simply because they interest you is fine, make sure you’re also scheduling the courses most relevant to your intended career.
Don’t Overburden Yourself
It’s easy to overburden yourself, especially when you’re a new student excited about the semester ahead. However, taking on too many classes is a recipe for burnout. College blogger Jessica Slaughter suggests taking no more than 16 hours per week. You might take even less if your courses are especially challenging. Use your judgment to avoid overtaxing yourself.
Take Advantage of Times You Work Best
Some of us love early mornings while others are night owls who prefer sleeping until noon. Think about when you’re most alert and schedule your most important or challenging classes for these times. If you don’t have a natural math brain and loathe mornings, an early statistics class will seem like torture. But take it in the evenings and you might just ace those tricky tests.
Schedule Breaks If You Need Them
Some students thrive on a busy schedule, while others feel burned out by back-to-back classes. What kind of personality do you have? Consider what feels more comfortable for you and craft your schedule accordingly, with as many breaks as you need to do your best.
Arrange a Consistent Routine
While our individual behaviors differ, we’re all creatures of habit. Studies show the world’s happiest and most successful people stick to a regular, fairly rigid routine. Remembering this, you should aim to give each day of your week a similar structure.
Starting classes and leaving campus at roughly the same time each day will let you establish a regular sleep schedule. Waking up and going to bed at the same time each night is proven to improve your concentration, memory, and energy levels. While those benefits will help you in the classroom, you’ll also appreciate the impact your consistent sleep schedule has on your health.
Your class schedule has a significant effect on how much you get out of your semester, so it’s crucial you get it right. Consider your own individual goals, habits, strengths, and weaknesses to create the perfect class schedule for you.