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Depending on the university you choose to attend, there are some realities to how much control you have over your class schedule. For example, since I am a student at NYU, which caters to a large student population that oftentimes works during the daytime, I have a large selection of times to choose for all my courses. And with courses, I had plenty of options on which courses could qualify for my core requirements. On the other hand, my good friend who chose to go to a small liberal arts college in Maryland had very little say in the classes she needed to take or the times in which she could take them, because there would only be one option.

No matter your circumstances, there are steps you can take in ensuring that your schedule suits your study and sleeping needs. Here are a few things you should consider before you finalize all your courses!

  • (Not a) Morning Person
  • So many freshmen make the mistake of taking 8am (or earlier, depending on your school!) classes because  they’ve started school at that time for ages. But something you must realize when you go to college (and if you live in the dorm) is that college culture dictates late nights. So many people go to bed really late when they are in college for a variety of reasons. If you cannot stick to your guns and maintain a decent sleep schedule, I’d think twice about that early morning class.
  • Big vs. Small Classes
    Though you often won’t have a choice in the matter, as lectures are designed to pack in students, you should be aware that there will be less people in morning classes as opposed to after 12pm, when classes are packed.
  • Working at the Same Time
    The job/internship you have will likely dictate what kind of class schedule you can manage. I, for example, keep an office job during the school year which means I need a lot of 9-5 work hours available. Students who bar tend or work as waiters might need their evening frees (but at the same time, not too early of a start!). Students who can’t manage morning or evening only classes might consider working on weekends only.

  • Getting a Day Off
    Considering that many people end their weeks on Thursday so they could party all night and have Friday night off, you might like to consider the same. Otherwise, you might be stuck in the dorm studying when all your friends are having fun on a Thursday night.
  • Schedule in Study Time/Break Time
    Depending on how strenuous your courses are, you might like an hour buffer in between classes to get in some extra studying.  At the same time, taking courses back-to-back will feel draining. You have to remember that college classes cover a lot of content in each session, so taking 3 classes in a row might be counter-intuitive.
  • Schedule in Your Meals
    I cannot tell you how many friends I’ve had who would take  so many block courses in a row that they would not have the opportunity to eat. That really sucks. So make sure you don’t do it.

    Photocourtesy of Jerine Lay via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

How to you make the perfect schedule? Post in comments below!