During my first and second year at university, I never really had to plan my class schedule. I simply examined the Academic Calendar and took the courses that were suggested to me, based on program requirements.
When I entered my third year I was confronted with a large list of courses to choose from. This experience compelled me to learn how to effectively plan my schedule in a way that works best for me. I found that a balance between courses that came easier to me, with courses that were more challenging was essential. For me, this balance aids in the implementation of a smooth semester.
I always begin by using the Academic Calendar as a general guide. Next, I investigate Degree Explorer, which I discovered during my journey learning how to effectively plan my class schedule. I find that Degree Explorer makes it easier for me to chart out my full year and see how close I am to completing all of my program requirements.
Another support I utilize when planning my schedule is my Academic Advisor from my college. My advisor helps me with information regarding my GPA, estimated graduation date, planning my tuition fee in advance, and support services that will help me to achieve academic stability.
Some of these resources include speaking to a Learning Strategist, figuring out my accommodations in advance with my Accessibility Advisor, and learning more about managing coursework with Peer Mentors.
Unlike high school, university staff do not plan everything for us. We have over 200 courses to choose from outside of our program requirements. The process of planning academic semesters can get challenging and confusing. I try to get all the information I can about a course through finding the syllabus, using RateMyProf, or speaking with upper years to ask for feedback about certain courses.
The ASSU also has previous years midterms and finals that can help you know the difficulty and material of a course. During the semester, these past papers are a great way to prepare for evaluations.
The Academic calendar for the next fall and winter semester is said to come out during Mid-May. As mentioned, Degree Explorer is a great tool to help you plan your courses and discover new program choices.
When using Degree Explorer I actually realized after my third year that I had finished more than half of the required credits to declare a math minor! I spoke to my Academic Advisor about this discovery and learned even more about some of the academic choices that I had previously been unaware of. I found that planning ahead and discussing your plans with someone is a great way to prepare for academics. It also a great way to plan your social experiences later, since you already know how much you have on your plate!