How to Design Your Class Schedule

How to Design Your Class Schedule

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

In the first seven or eight years of school, choosing what subjects to study is usually fairly easy. The choices are limited and usually the set of required courses, like history or math, take up most of the school day. Later, however, choosing courses becomes an important way to achieve educational and career goals. Learning how to design a good class schedule is the best way to make sure that each year goes as smoothly as possible.

How much control do you have over the classes you take? You might not have much yet, but that will soon change. In high school, students normally have some options, but the choices are often very limited. When students get to college or university, they usually have much more freedom to choose the courses they want, but they also have the responsibility to monitor their own education.

Students’ experiences with course choices can vary. Some programs, especially those that lead directly to employment in a certain field, such as nursing, tend to have a large number of required courses that often need to be completed in order. In more general programs, such as the studies leading to an Arts degree, the requirements are much more flexible. In both types of programs, however, students still need to find the best schedule to suit their needs.

The first step in designing a class schedule is finding out which courses are essential to your goals and which are optional. Finding time for the program’s required courses should be your priority. Often these required courses can be spread out over a few years, but not always. The next courses on your list should be ones that are prerequisites (first requirements) for other courses you want to take. If you want to study German, for example, you should take the introductory courses as soon as possible. Classes that are offered only every two or three years should also be a high priority in case you can’t take them later in your studies.

After you have selected the required or time-sensitive courses that you want, you can fill your schedule with other classes that interest you. You might even want to consider doing an internship or taking a special one-on-one study course to learn about an area that you think might be useful in the future. You might choose courses taught by an interesting professor, or you might avoid ones that fall either early in the morning or late in the evening. You might design your schedule around your part-time job or choose whatever happens to be available. Using a computer template to help you design your class schedule might help you to fit the courses together into a manageable timetable.

Before you start to design your course schedule, you should learn as much as you can about your program and decide on your own priorities. That way, you will have the knowledge to plan a schedule that suits your needs while you finish the courses you need to complete your studies.  Happy scheduling!

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