“Do you know what classes you’re taking next semester?” This question, one I get every single day recently, can be stressful and bothersome if you have absolutely no clue what courses to select. Thankfully, there’s many tricks to keep your college schedule interesting, manageable, and most importantly, balanced! I’m not kidding when I say that as an LSA undergrad student, surfing the hundreds of class options on the online course guide has become a fun activity to do in my free time. No, I’m not a super nerd. It’s just fun to see the wide range and opportunities to choose from. No more high school restrictions or parents telling you what classes to take. If you want to take a class about Aliens and Monsters, go for it! Here are six tips to consider while backpacking and choosing your ideal schedule.
Keep Requirements in Mind.
Yes, you can take whatever you want. However, each specific college has requirements that students must fulfill before graduation. Don’t leave these until the last minute! This may seem far away, but it’s always good to space out the necessary classes over many semesters to avoid drowning in an unenjoyable workload. If you are not a strong science student, take the few required natural science classes over time so you don’t feel overwhelmed all in one semester. If humanities aren’t your thing, that’s okay! If you only take one class every other semester, it won’t feel like a burden and may even interest you more than you think. Don’t limit yourself based on your high-school interests. Science Is not my favorite subject. However, the biopsychology of sports was pretty cool if I say so myself.
All About a Balance.
You are not a superhero. I repeat, you are NOT a superhero. That means, do NOT overload yourself, especially not as a first-year student. Take between 14 and 16 credits, which is about four classes and a manageable amount of work. I promise, even though four classes are less than high-school students take, the workload is way bigger! College is about more than studying all day long, so make sure to manage your course load. Also, balance the type of classes you take each semester. Don’t take courses all in one topic. Instead, in order to keep your days fresh and interesting, indulge in many different fields, including social science courses, natural science courses, humanities, creative expression, and mathematics as well. If you love psychology, be sure to take psych classes while also including history, art, and science. You will never know what you truly love until you try out everything!
If you are not a morning person, I promise you will not become a morning person in college. Don’t take early classes! I know classes began at 8AM in high school, but I would recommend avoiding these early birds by any means. However, if you know that your brain works better in the early hours of the day, don’t take classes at 6-7 PM at night! Courses run all day long, so make sure to create your schedule at the times that work best for you. It’s also good to keep in mind that many classes in a row without a break for lunch can be tiresome and becomes hard to focus. Don’t only consider timing, but types of classes as well! Not every class at a research- university is lecture style, with 400 students. There are small classes as well, and if these work better for your learning habits, make sure to check the size of the class on the course guide before registration! Know yourself, and the environment you need to succeed at the next level.
Pre-Requirements are No joke!
If you have a general idea of the major you plan to pursue, congrats, you're ahead of schedule! Most don’t, and that’s okay too. I promise there’s no need to stress. However, if you do know what the future holds, it’s always good to start early. Each major has a list of pre-requirements highlighted on the website, and you will be happy if those can be spread out and not crammed into one or two semesters. Before surfing the course guide of your college, check out the many majors offered and the requirements for each in order to both organize and maybe even spark a passion!
Get language Out of The Way.
I am NOT a fan of the language requirement, and neither are most college students. They’re tedious, time consuming, and meet on Fridays, which no one enjoys. Because language is mandatory and unavoidable for most students, it’s important to recognize that unless you’re a French-speaking protégée, it will not be your favorite class of the day. Revolve the rest of your schedule around the language in order to keep it manageable, and take language courses as early in the college process as possible! You will thank me for this tip later.
Take What You Love.
This will always be the number one priority in schedule building. Never in your life will you have the flexibility and opportunities to try something new everday, so don’t waste it worrying about what everyone else is doing. Take the weirdest class in the course guide, even if you take it alone! Don’t just take a class just because it looks “impressive” and challenging. Be different, it could be the best decision you’ve ever made. Happy course making!