Academic Advising and Schedule Planning

Its been far too long since I’ve written anything.  I made it a goal to start posting daily but then life got the best of me and I just haven’t gotten around to it.  What I wanted to talk about today is something that I’m sure a lot of students are figuring out this time of year, class schedule for the next semester/year.  College course registration is coming up fast over these next couple of weeks and students are frantically scheduling meetings with academic advisors to figure out what classes they need to take.  Here are some of my tips on how to be proactive to get the best schedule and make the most of your time.

  1. First and foremost, if you don’t have an academic advisor then I highly suggest you get one soon.  They’ll help you get on and stay on the right track towards graduation.
  2. Schedule a meeting with an advisor as soon as possible.  That way when you’re working through figuring out classes you still have plenty of time to meet with them again or contact them with any questions.
  3. Make a connection with your advisor.  If you have a connection with your advisor then they will be way more willing to help you out.  For example, theres a class you want to take but its full.  Your advisor could get you an override into that class.  They’ll also be there as a resource when graduation rolls around.
  4. Use schedule planning websites.  I dont know what the scheduling process is like at other schools or departments.  The journalism school has so many students that when you go in for advising, they take a look at the classes you already took and the ones you still need for graduation.  Then they write down a list of different classes you should take and send you on your merry way.  It is up to you from then on to find the times and schedule out your classes.  Using websites like myedu.com are super helpful because they color code out classes, show class difficulty level/grade rate, as well as organizing time.
  5. Use ratemyprofessor.com but be careful.  Its always nice, in my opinion, to see what other students had to think about a particular class or professor.  The only caution to keep, is that the reviews are usually written by students who either loved or hated the professor.  I usually sign up for the professors who have all green smiley faces and zero red or yellow faces because I like to think it means no one disliked them.  Its also important to read the reviews students write because they can sometimes give you a look into the setup of the class/homework amount.
  6. Map it out on paper.  If you’re like me and are an extremely visual person, you need to have everything all laid out before you plain and simple.  If you’re also like me and have a weird aversion to technology/apps/websites, paper and colored pens or markers is the next best thing.
  7. Get it all in your agenda ASAP.  Once you are all registered for classes, consistently check online until the next semester to see if your professors put up any announcements or their syllabus.  Some professors always put them up early so its a good idea to already have it printed and the dates marked for all assignments and test.
  8. Be wary of drop dates.  There are usually three different drop periods.  The first is usually before classes even start when you still have almost free range to change any and all classes you want.  The second is usually within the first week of classes starting giving you a chance to get and idea of the class and professor and see if its a class you still want to be taking.  If you drop by that date it usually shouldn’t show up on your transcript.  The last drop date is a few weeks into the semester when all that will show up on your transcript is a “Withdrawal”.  You wouldn’t to decide a particular class is too difficult or not one you want to take too late into the semester and drop the class.
  9. Be time conscious.  If you’re not a morning person then dont sign up for an early class.  Sleeping through your alarm and missing class is a terrible habit to have in college.  Also be careful not to schedule too many classes back to back, you’ll need to remember to leave time for lunch in the afternoon so you can keep up your energy!

Those are some of the tips I suggest as the time for registration gets closer and closer.  Getting the best possible course load and class schedule can help make or break a semester at college.

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