7 Considerations for Planning Your Next Semester
Choosing classes for each semester is both exciting and stressful. It’s your chance to register for classes you’ve been excited about taking for a while — but it can be stressful waiting to see if you’ve been able to secure a place. Plus, you need to be smart about which classes you choose to ensure you create a balanced schedule. Spend some time planning for your schedule to ensure next semester is a success.
1. Look Beyond Next Semester
There’s no need to figure out what classes you’ll take throughout your entire time at university, but you do know what classes are requirements — for your major and for general education. Plus, there may be some classes you know you want to take. Decide how you’ll divide these up to ensure you’ll be able to graduate on time.
2. Start with the Prerequisites
It’s best to complete all your prerequisites as soon as possible. Check the prerequisites for all the classes you need or want to take and work backward. Some classes may have as many as three prerequisites — it’s worth registering for at least a couple of these now.
3. Strive for a Mix of Classes
Your class schedule should be a mixture of difficult and less challenging classes. Avoid registering for several difficult classes in the same semester just to finish them as soon as possible — you’ll almost certainly regret such a decision. In addition, create a schedule that involves a combination of skills. Too much math, reading, or essay writing in the same semester can be overwhelming.
4. Check the Classes Fit into Your Schedule
Use a scheduling tool or calendar app to check how classes would fit into your schedule. It’s usually best to avoid back-to-back classes for logistical reasons and to maintain your concentration. You also need to consider how many hours of classes you can take over a week. You may like to register for one more class than you think you can handle and then drop something if your schedule proves to be too much. If you’re nearing the end of your time at university, though, bear in mind that you have limited leeway to drop classes — the last thing you want is for your very last semester to be too heavy.
5. Create a Schedule According to Your Preferences
After you’ve been at university a semester or two, you’ll have gained an understanding of what kind of schedule works for you. If you know you struggle to make morning classes on time, opt for more classes in the afternoon. Also consider how long you can stay focused throughout the day. Some students prefer to have a couple of full days of classes to gain more free time during the rest of the week, whereas other students cope better when they spread their classes over several days.
6. Discuss Any Doubts with Other Students
If you’re unsure about a particular class, talk to students who have already taken it. Find out if the professor is inspiring during lectures and supportive during office hours. Learn more about grading, such as if there are opportunities for extra credit and if you’re graded on your attendance. Finally, ask about the workload outside of class, including homework, labs, and preparation for tests.
7. Have a Backup
You may create the perfect schedule for the semester only to find that one or more of the classes fills up before you can register. You should have a couple backups in case this happens — whether that’s the same class on a different day or another class you were intending to take during a future semester.
It will be easier to succeed no matter what your semester looks like if you have a place at home where you can study in peace. For Ontario Tech University housing where you’ll have a private bedroom, access to onsite study spaces, and blazing-fast WiFi, move into 17Hundred. Our student community is just minutes from campus. Book a video tour to check out the facilities for yourself.