No matter how you schedule your classes, you want to be sure you do so in a way that is most conducive to your own learning and personal life style. With schools offering more and more classes online and at night or on the weekends, especially for your general education credits, you can adapt your schedule to meet your specific needs as a student. Depending on the professor and the college, there isn’t necessarily a better time to take a course, though at traditional colleges, more experienced professors and upper level courses tend to offer their class times in the morning and during the day before five o’clock or so. Here is some advice for setting up the best class schedule for you.
1. Base it on what works best for you
This is one of those obvious and vague types of advice, but it is, nonetheless, important. If you are a morning person, take morning classes. If you are a night person and don’t like to get up early, take classes in the afternoon or night. If it doesn’t matter to you, just be sure you schedule the courses during times when you know you will make it.
When you do plan out your schedule, make sure that you stick to it and go to every class. Aside from listening to lectures and doing the homework, just simply showing up is a big part of doing good in college. Each class period builds on the previous, so if you miss out on one day of lecture, you can easily get behind and struggle to stay caught up.
2. Make sure to have some breaks
No matter when you schedule your courses, try to incorporate a few breaks, especially if you are doing all of your classes on Monday/Wednesday, or all of them on Tuesday/Thursday. It is hard to go to back-to-back classes and stay focused for every class if you aren’t allowed a little bit of break time to eat and refresh your brain. This is exactly why K-12 schools have lunch breaks and short breaks in between classes. The worst thing you can do is schedule all of your classes on two days because you’ll end up getting exhausted by assignment deadlines, exams, etc. Can you imagine having five exams on the same day come finals?
3. Weekend and night courses can be good, but not always
As stated above, weekend, night, and online courses can be a great option if you have a busy schedule and aren’t able to make it to classes during normal school hours. However, keep in mind that night and weekend courses are typically for a longer length of time, especially the weekend ones. Teachers will have to fit in all of the work they would have done during a regular course into one day, so your class can be five to six hours long, which is exhausting and ruins your weekends. On top of all that, weekend courses make you complete homework over the entire week, which can be hard to do when you are a first-time college student away from home with no rules.
Online classes can also be an option, but these also require self-control, self-motivation, and self-governance. Yes, succeeding in an online course is all up to you. There is no teacher reminding you of assignments, other classmates to spontaneously talk about that assignment that’s due next week, or any regimen of study. Online classes work great for some, but some students are unable to keep up on their own.
4. Work and school
Juggling your work and school can be difficult, but if you get a job on campus and/or your employer knows that you are going to college, they will generally be flexible with your hours and understanding about your needs as a student. This doesn’t mean that you will be able to take off whenever you want, even if you haven’t finished your final paper that is due tomorrow. What it does mean is that if you let your boss know in advance of your school schedule, they will typically work with you to allow you enough time to go to class and study, as well as do a good job at work.
5. Choosing courses and professors
Choosing the right classes and the right professors is another whole topic that each deserve an equal amount of research, but it is worth mentioning here because you will want to keep this in mind when creating your schedule. Before signing up for an odd-timed class, or really any class in general, make sure you will like learning about that subject and the instructor has decent reviews online or by word of mouth. It would suck to have to drop out of a class because of a bad instructor or because you didn’t know what the course was really about.