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The Best Way to Pick a Course Schedule

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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By guest blogger Stan Whitcomb
Stan is a freshman at Santa Clara University. He is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a major in computer science. He is new to the blogosphere but is a seasoned writer (thanks English class!). In his free time, he likes to Dougie with his hallamtes and he is an avid Frisbee player.

Class selection, while subtle, is one of the most important things you can do to improve your college experience. Whether you stack all your classes for one day, or take a more balanced approach, one must always be wary of the pitfalls of a bad schedule.

The first major question you should be asking yourself when contemplating schedules is: who are the good professors? There are many resources for doing this. Talking to classmates and even upperclassmen can help you get a sense of what a professor is like. Sometimes the popular website ratemyprofessors.com can be helpful as well. Good teachers make college the experience it is, so make it a point in your scheduling to find the best ones possible for the most gratifying education you can achieve.

When picking classes, you need to decide if you want a balanced schedule or if you want all of your classes on certain days. Photo by Alisa Ryan.

Next major question has to be a preference ordeal. Simply, do you like to get up and think early in the morning? If so, man, am I jealous! Either way, if you don’t care about which professor you get (you should after that last paragraph), or there are two equally good professors from which to choose, the time of the class is the next big question. A study conducted a few years ago has shown a linkage between brain functionality and the time of day. It concluded that college students tend to think better during the evening hours. These results can impact when you decide to take your classes. Personally, I picked early class times so that I could do my homework later on in the evening when my brain is at its peak performance.

Now, when choosing classes based on timeslots, you may be inclined to stack all your classes on the same day and use the days with no class to get your homework done. I do not suggest doing this. After an informal testing with my fellow students, I have found that stacking all of your classes on one day rapidly leads to overwhelming amounts of work. Overloading your days is like scratching an itch; it feels like a good idea, but once you itch it, the desire to keep on scratching only gets worse and worse until you’re stuck with 8 hours of homework on one day, and 5 hours of class on the other.

So, my advice? Do research on professors before you start picking classes, get one that you want, and a couple more that you can settle for. When you’re picking a timeslot, make sure you know thy self and are positive you can function well for the entire class. Who wants to pay for a college education just to sleep through it?  Finally, remember that classes in the early morning are god awful abominations and the people that get up for them are nigh on superheroes for making it to them coherently, and that when it comes to class scheduling, make all the decisions with care.


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