5 Tips for Creating a Course Schedule

Good morning!!! 

Earlier this month, I received an email from the university about my registration date for courses: June 17th at 9:30am. I already have my alarm and backup alarm set to ensure I am up in plenty of time with my schedule in hand so I can register for the courses I want to take as soon as possible before they fill up. I know I can always change them but I have a huge fear of not getting into classes. 

While I have now mapped out three (soon to be four) years of courses, I wanted to write this post for anyone new to university or looking to maximize their course schedule. So, without further ado, here are my 5 tips for creating a course schedule: 

1. Make a list of all the required courses and block them in first.

I am guilty of this, but sometimes I schedule in electives that I really want to take before I block in required courses I have to take for my degree. However, some required courses may only be offered at certain times or in certain terms and should be planned around before electives that could be taken anytime. 

2. Leave yourself some time in between.

Typically, classes are scheduled so that there is 10 minutes to travel between them, but it is so not ideal if you have to sprint across campus to get to your next class. To avoid this, I like to note the building the class is located in so that I can plan classes close by immediately following. Personally, I like having blocks of time in between classes for readings, homework, and relaxation, but for other people it is best to have all their courses back-to-back so they can head home immediately after.

3. Work around your schedule, not your friends’.

I love being in classes with my friends as much as anybody, but at the same time, my schedule comes first. If I can be in a class with a friend that works for me, then that’s great, but I don’t want to rearrange my entire schedule so we can be in the same class.

4. Think about transit.

If you take the bus or other modes of transport to school, consider how long it will take you to get to school and what a realistic start time is. For instance, I try to avoid 8:30am classes because it is no fun waking up at 5am to get an early bus to campus.

5. Consider the workload.

Many course outlines from previous terms can be easily found through a quick Google search. This is especially helpful if a course is offered by multiple professors. Rate My Professors is a great way to research which professor might be best for you, and a previous course outline from their class will indicate how they like to allocate marks. I am someone who likes having my grade come from multiple sources: assignments, online quizzes, in-class participation, and exams. For others though, three exams and a final is just fine. But a mix of both types of courses makes for a manageable workload. 

What are some of your tips for mapping out a course schedule??? 

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5 Things I Do in the Final Week of Classes 

  Today is my final day of spring term classes!!! 

I have loved my courses, but I am looking forward to being able to study in my pajamas and bake cupcakes during my breaks. Until I can do that though, there are five things I like to do in the final week of classes so I thought I would share them here 🙂 🙂

1. Locate all my notes

No matter how organized I am, a few pesky pages of notes or handouts get misplaced. In the final week, I gather all my notes from the term together, separate them into classes, and figure out any gaps. Before friends go back home or get tucked into their study caves, I want to make sure that I have everything I will need to prepare for finals. 

2. Read through notes and mark with questions 

While classes are still in session and professors and TAs still have office hours, I like to read through all my notes and mark any questions I have so I can get them resolved as early as possible. There is nothing worse to me than studying for a final and then finding a giant hole in my notes about a topic I thought the prof would elaborate upon but never did. 

3. Clean Up My Computer Desktop

Maybe this is just me, but I have a terrible habit of dragging links and folders onto my desktop for easy access and then never putting them where they belong in my university folder, or just never trashing them. Before I sit down at my desk to study for finals, I like to make sure that everything is in its place to avoid the panic that accompanies a missing assignment. 

4. Stock Up on Post-It Notes and Erasable Pens

Post-it notes are my study strategy go-to because I can colour code things, flag important sections in textbooks, summarize chapters, and so much more. Between post-its, highlighters, and coloured pens for headers, definitions, etc. my notes are essentially a mini rainbow of information. Haha takes the learning rainbow to a whole other level. And erasable pens are my saving grace. I used to go through white out like it was going out of style because I like my notes to be scribble-free but now I get the dark lines of pen writing without the hassle or waste of white out. I know I could write in pencil instead, but as a leftie, my writing often smudges and I can’t stand the look of blended pencil on a page, or on the side of my hand. 

5. Map Out a Study Schedule for Final Exams 

Classes let out on a Monday April 4th this term, and exams start up on Thursday April 7th. Usually exams are scattered across several days in the exam period, and this can create the false illusion that I have more study time than I actually do. I make a calendar of each day in the exam period, block off the days I have for exams and the days immediately before for relaxation, and then schedule in study time for each of my exams. Not only that, but I detail what I am going to do each day like draft essay answers or create concept maps for a certain number of chapters. Keeping these goals on-task and realistic gives me a sense of accomplishment when I complete them and can check them off, and it keeps me focused to avoid the last-minute panic of night before studying. 

What do you do in the final week of classes???

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