I messed up so you don't have to!
Almost everyone screws up when planning their class schedule for their first semester of college. I know I did.
College is very different from high school. There are few core (general education) requirements, many classes to choose from, and several time slots offered for each class. You are in charge of picking your own classes and planning your own schedule. If you don't even know what you want to major in, this is very hard.
There are definitely ways to make creating your schedule easier. Here are some things I currently do now and I wish I had known about before.
Use Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel is wonderful. It is a great tool to use to help plan your schedule. If you already have it or your college offers it for free (like mine), download it. If you can't buy/get it, Google Sheets is a great free alternative that works in a similar way.
Microsoft Excel is my best friend. I have two planning sheets that I mainly use: one (that my sister gave me) for planning my entire four years in college and another for planning my schedule each semester.
If none if that convinces you, I'll leave you with this note; many companies use Excel, so it will be benefit you in the future if you know how to use it!
Make a list of your classes and the important information about each of them
I think it's pretty self-explanatory as to why this is helpful.
In the very left column in Excel, starting at row two, list all of your classes in a separate box. In row one, starting at column two, list the titles of the basic information they give you in their own boxes, like "time," "location," professor," and so on. In the remaining boxes, fill out the information for each class.
Create a weekly schedule in Excel
A five day schedule helps you plan when to take your classes. It shows you if any of your courses conflict with each other and makes it easier to see what your week will be like to decide if you can do it. Will you have enough time to walk between classes? Do you have time for lunch? Did you give yourself time to study, or is everything stacked on top of each other?
In row one, starting at column two, list each day of the week on one box. In column one starting at row two, list each time slot in a separate box. From there, you can play around with class times and plan how you want your schedule to look.
Use Rate My Professor
Rate My Professor is amazing. Use it. It has saved me.
This is the one tip I have actually used since the beginning, and it is great.
Take classes you like
Look, I get it. You want to take the easy class with the easy professor because you want an A. But you won't get an A if you don't like the class, no matter how easy it is. Your schedule is going to suck and you will be miserable if you don't like a class, so don't do it. You will do well in classes you like because you actually want to be there (what a crazy idea!).