As a duel-majoring senior that went abroad who is also an athlete, I’ve had my share of scheduling woes. Scheduling is always stressful for me and now that I’m so close to graduating, albeit a semester late, I’ve never worried more. Here are some tips for underclassmen to help you with scheduling so your senior year might be a little less stressful.
Take your core classes first
It’s tempting to take 100 level gen-ed courses your first couple of semesters because they’re generally easier but don’t load up on them every semester. If you have a declared major, focus on those classes. Use your gen-eds to lighten the load of your schedules. You’re going to want an easy class every once in awhile. Your classes only get harder and taking 15-18 credits of hard classes is sometimes just too much. Save your easy classes for when you need them most.
Take advantage of summer and winter classes
If you have the time and the extra money to take these classes, do so. I’ve been taking two to three summer classes every year and I’m still a semester behind (I also have two majors) but if you have one major, you might just graduate early, yay! Summer and winter sessions are another place to take your gen-eds. They’re more commonly offered in the summer online and easy to take. Once you get down to your major classes, these are not as commonly offered. You’re downright lucky if they’re offered in the summer or winter.
If you have conflicting class times, always go with the more difficult to get into class
Getting into some classes is harder than others. They don’t have as many sections and they’re in demand for your major. Take the harder to get into classes first to ensure that you get in early and not stressing to get in your senior year. If you don’t get into a class, don’t freak out. Email the professor. There’s a chance they may let you squeeze into the class. Don’t be afraid to email them; the worse they can say is no.
Be aware of when classes are offered
Some classes are only offered once every three semesters or even less frequently than that. If one of you major classes is like this, you have to be aware of when they’re offered so you can take it. If you miss taking the class, you may reach graduation before it’s offered again and then you have a problem. Ask your advisor about these kinds of classes. Don’t be afraid of 18 credits. Eighteen credits sounds intimidating and it’s not that easy but sometimes it’s necessary. If you take eighteen, I promise that you’ll survive. If you’re an athlete, only take eighteen if you’re out of season; you’re in for a rough ride if you take it in season, unless you’re freakishly good at time management and keeping your tears at bay.
Just be aware of your graduation date and the classes you have to take before that. Try to spread out your semester loads as much as possible and don’t overwhelm yourself with tons of hard classes. Work with your advisors and reach out to upperclassmen for help if you need it and scheduling shouldn’t be a problem. Good luck!