How To Create The Perfect Class Schedule

It may not seem like it would have that much of an affect on you, but believe it or not, the way you schedule your classes really does influence your success in college!  Does your ideal schedule have you starting the day at some hour that does not include the dreaded, “AM?”  Well, I have news for you; that may not be the most beneficial plan for your college career!  Read on…

One of the most promising aspects of going to college was the fact that I would never have to sit in class for 8 consecutive hours ever again!  Instead, I would have the freedom to choose what classes I would take and when, meaning that if I wanted to sleep until 3pm on Mondays, it was totally possible.

Now that I’m actually in college and steering the wheel of scheduling, my idea of a perfect schedule has changed drastically.  There are many things to take into account when forming your class schedule.   Even if you haven’t selected a college yet, within the next 6 months you will be making your first semester schedule, so it’s never too early to start planning! There are a number of things to take into account, many of which you won’t encounter until you’re actually living out your schedule, so don’t expect perfection the first (few) times around!

So while you shouldn’t be stressing yet about scheduling your courses, here are some tips to creating an ideal class schedule:

  • Take note of your habits now.

Start by becoming a little more attentive to your body’s circadian rhythm.   This includes the times you are most awake, hungry, attentive, and ready for bed. For example, when are you most alive and with-it?  When are you able to concentrate the most?  Is it after you eat, first wake up, exercise?  Also keep in mind how much of a morning or night person you are.

Chances are, you will have a variety of times to choose from when picking out classes, so always choose the class time that’s going to get you at your best.  However, it is very important to remember that once you come to college, your habits may change drastically!  For this reason, your first couple of semesters of scheduling will be a great time of trial and error.

  • Be honest about your attention span.

The structure of your schedule can have a huge effect on your academic performance.  For example, if your brain functions best in the morning, why structure your schedule so you don’t have class until 2?  Similarly, be conscious of your attention span.  If you can focus for 5 straight hours, then an ideal schedule for you may be to stack your classes, leaving massive blocks of time for studying, etc.  Some students prefer having breaks in between classes, but unless you can be productive in that free time, I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Keep in mind your jobs and extracurriculars when planning!

If you aren’t currently in college, this may not apply to you directly, but remember it for later!  The nice thing about college is that employers, club organizers, and coaches, etc. are very aware of the fact that you are a busy college student (and most likely they are too!).  Therefore, they are always willing to work with your schedule, or are more likely to schedule events after 4 or 5pm.

However, it is important to consider what you plan to be involved in before you set your schedule, as you don’t want to load your semester full of difficult classes while balancing multiple club memberships or even a job.  Talk to your advisor, plan your semesters ahead, and avoid having to stack multiple difficult classes in the same semester.

This advice may seem super simple and obviously, but trust me, it’s important.  If you take anything from this, know that the best way to schedule your classes should be based off of the way your body functions. 

Good luck!

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Kaitlyn Taylor

Kaitlyn Taylor

Kaitlyn Taylor is a freshman at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, pursuing a degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in Spanish. She comes from a small farm town of 1,000 in West-Central Illinois, making the transition to a large campus challenging. At school Kaitlyn is involved with the University’s Women Glee Choir, and also sings in her Church choir and is involved with her residence hall’s Resident Board. She enjoys writing, biking, and volunteering.
Kaitlyn Taylor

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