Scheduling can be a nightmare at any age, but especially if you’re a freshman. If possible, do everything you can to avoid the following mistakes that freshmans typically make when creating their schedule for the school year.
1. Scheduling a Monday morning class at 8:00am
You will be too tired and will not attend. Plus, there will be so much going on in residence (even on a Sunday) that you need the extra time Monday morning to catch up on readings and assignments.
2. Scheduling an evening class on Friday
You will be too excited for the weekend, and most likely Friday night’s festivities, that you won’t attend.
3. Not scheduling enough time between classes for a lunch break
Being hungry and having to attend a lecture is never a good combination. After a while, you won’t even be able to concentrate on what the professor is saying - you will only be able to think of one thing: food. Be sure that you have at least a half hour break in between classes so that you have time to eat some food. If this impossible, make sure to properly stock your purse or backpack before school (think granola bars, nuts, and fruit).
4. Scheduling a class at another one of the university’s campuses
Many students sign up for a class without ever checking the location. Lots of universities have multiple campuses, and although you might think all of your classes will automatically be on the main campus, this may not be true. Be sure to check in advance. Otherwise, you’ll have to factor in the commuting time to get to and from the alternative campus.
5. Scheduling a class in a building next to shopping paradise
This is a particular for problem for universities located in cities, especially when the university campus is quite spread out. In theory, it’s extremely convenient for your class to be located next door to a shopping mall so you can run your errands before or after class. What will happen in actuality is that you decide to skip class and go shopping instead. Try and choose classes in buildings farther away from downtown.
6. Scheduling a class that is more than 15 minutes from your residence by foot
This is mostly a problem for students living in colder areas. Once winter hits, the trek to campus is going to seem significantly further. You will talk yourself into skipping class by saying things like “well, I don’t want to catch a cold,” or “I only have one class today anyways.” Don’t fall into this trap! Live as close to campus as possible so you are not tempted to skip class. Otherwise, buy a public transport pass and get some warm mittens.
7. Registering for too many courses
Don’t overload - especially in first year. First year is your time to relax, shop around, take courses in all different subjects. Your first year is stress-free compared to your other years - and it should be this way. You need time to transition into university life.
8. Registering for too little courses
It’s important to find a happy medium when it comes to choosing how many courses you’re going to take. The issue is that if you choose too little courses, you will have to make up the credits in your later years (when things are likely to be tougher and more stressful). Plus, you must also consider that if you take only one or two classes you are in danger of being categorized as a part-time student, and being a part-time student comes with limitations at certain universities (for example, not being allowed to play on sports teams).
9. Choosing classes based on what your friends are taking
Please, please, please, take classes that you are interested in. Don’t worry about what your friends are taking. You will meet people in your classes. Plus, things can get competitive if you are friends with several people in your class.
10. Registering for classes without checking RateMyProfessors
The professor can make or break a class. Of course, these rating systems are not fool-proof. Just because one student didn’t like a professor, doesn’t mean you’re not going to. However, going through RateMyProfessors and looking at some of the comments can be helpful. You can get a feel for the type of teaching style the professor uses, what assignments they might assign for a given course, how much reading they assign, and how accessible they are if you need help.