How to organize your college freshman school schedule
**The Edvocate is pleased to publish guest posts as way to fuel important conversations surrounding P-20 education in America. The opinions contained within guest posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of The Edvocate or Dr. Matthew Lynch.**
A guest column by Brooke Chaplin
When you first meet with your school counselor, they’ll more than likely advise you to take a light load your first semester of freshman year. If you’re like many new college students, you’ll probably be surprised to hear a school official telling you to cut back on credits or take the easier general classes. While it might be surprising, it’s the best advice you can be given when you’re starting out and on your own for the first time. Arranging a loaded schedule to get your degree as fast as possible could affect your entire student career, so it is best to plan wisely.
When you’re new to college life, it can take some time to get acquainted with the change. You’ll need to learn how to read your curriculum, how to keep track of due dates, and how to balance heavy loads of homework and arrange your class schedule. Here is some valuable alumni advice to help you learn from the mistakes of those who went before.
Choose a Class Time Where You Are Alert and Ready for Lectures
The whole purpose of paying to attend college is to gain knowledge. If you decide you want to get a specific class over with early in the day, you could be putting yourself at a disadvantage. Some students like getting up bright and early, while others are night owls and are more productive later on. Consider when you are alert and look for classes in this time frame so you know will be ready to attend and learn. There is a reason why more students miss class in the morning than in the afternoon.
Leave Time Between Classes For Mental Rest
College professors can throw a lot of information at you in a single sit down. You may be typing pages of notes, reading dozens of slides, or having a class discussion that requires some serious critical thinking in class, and then watching film you will be quizzed on in another. If you go straight from one class to the next, you will have no time to rest or process what you have just learned. Whether you are coming from a psychology class for your sociology degree or heading out of a simple fitness course, give yourself some time to get organized before you get on to the next class. Giving yourself a short breather will help you retain information better.
Register For Your Classes As Early As Possible
As a freshmen, you have never experienced what it is like to see that a class has reached capacity before you were able to register. Prerequisites are very popular because all students must take them. To ensure you get the classes you want, you should register the moment you are able to.
Scheduling is all done online now that schools have online registration tools. Be sure to consider how challenging courses are, what other obligations and priorities you have, and how long you could spend on your studies. By being prepared, you can strengthen your chances of success during your first year as a college student.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information on building a schedule for online courses like a sociology degree contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.