Whether you’re a freshman just getting ready to choose your classes or a returning student at the start of a semester, choosing the right classes can be a struggle. But, don’t worry.
Here are 10 tips on how to choose the right college classes for you.
1. Start early
Don’t be that student who looks into class options the day before you are assigned to sign up. Start early and avoid all of the crazy stress that comes with thinking about scheduling!
2. Know your graduation requirements
Before you even begin to think about what types of classes you want to take, look up the exact requirements remaining for both your major and any general classes you need to take in order to graduate. Make a list of these remaining requirements and rank them in order of importance and when you need to complete them.
3. Check out your options
While it may be overwhelming to look at all of the different options (especially if you go to a bigger school with many, many options), prioritize your options and pay close attention to classes that fulfill those requirements we just talked about.
4. Read RateMyProfessor reviews
Read the class descriptions of potential options you are interested in and figure out the time schedule and professor information. Then, head over to ratemyprofessor.com and read through the reviews. While it’s not foolproof, it could save you from choosing a class taught by a professor who is hated by everyone.
5. Build a list of potential class options
Now that you’ve done all your research, note down all of the classes you are interested in, grouping them by the requirements they fulfill. My advice? Have at least two class options for each requirement, so you have a backup option if one of the classes gets full early or you are waitlisted (sigh).
6. Balance the types of classes
If you’re a communications major who has a few math requirements, I wouldn’t recommend choosing all math classes for your upcoming semester (unless that’s all you need, of course). Balance the subjects of your classes and the amount from within your major and those that are outside it.
7. Don’t overstretch
Sure, 6 classes and 18 credits don’t seem that bad, until you add in your job/internship, extracurriculars, and social time. Don’t get in over your head and sign up for more than you can handle. Be smart with class choices that cover multiple requirements in one, so you don’t have to take more classes than you need each semester. You will be thanking yourself come finals week, I promise.
8. Figure out your schedule
Now that you have your list of classes you are interested in, it’s time to work them into a potential schedule. This is really the tricky part, as some classes you want will be offered at the same time and you will have to make a choice. Create at least two different versions of schedules to consider.
9. Visit your advisor
Talking through your options and your planned schedule with your advisor is an absolute must. Your advisor will have advice about what works or doesn’t work in your schedule and may even point you to great classes you haven’t considered yet!
10. Meet your scheduling deadline
If you are assigned a specific time to schedule your classes, be ready to do so at the exact time you were assigned, so you avoid the possibility of your favorite classes being full. But if that should happen, see if there is a wait-list option and sign up for that. Fill your schedule with another class in the meantime, that you can drop if your wait-list class opens up later on.
Casey is a college junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying journalism and strategic communication. Casey enjoys chocolate, horror movies, and Netflix binge-watching. She swears she’s normal(ish).