Step 4: Schedule Elements

Now that you have discovered the broad shape of your fall schedule (step one) and have watched the video on using the Registration Worksheet (step three), it's time to put together a prospective class schedule.  Here are some elements to keep in mind:  

  • Students typically take five courses each semester, which typically totals 15 units since courses are typically 3 units each.  To be a full-time student, you need to take at least 12 units.  If you are in a course that is more that three units or if you are feeling a little nervous about jumping into five college-level courses, it's perfectly okay to take four courses.  
  • Traditionally, courses meet either MWF for one hour each day or TuTh for 90 minutes each day.  In a perfect world, you could spread out your five courses evenly:  three on MWF (totaling three class hours each day) and two on TuTh (also totaling three class hours each day).  This almost never happens!  Still, it's something to strive for.  Did you notice Sean's proposed Tuesday class schedule on the video?  He would be in class for seven straight hours!  The human brain isn't designed to focus so intently for so long, so avoid that at all costs.
  • Courses actually begin at 10 minutes after their scheduled start time:  a 10:00 class begins at 10:10; an 11:30 class begins at 11:40; etc.  This 10 minutes allows for travel time between classes and means that you can schedule courses back-to-back, which is a very efficient schedule.  Students report that if they have too many little breaks (e.g., one hour) between classes, their day is long, and they tend to squander the time between classes:  it's better to carve out larger blocks for reading and studying if possible.
  • That said, three hours of back-to-back classes is plenty.  Your brain will need a break.  If you do schedule several back-to-back classes -- for example, three consecutive MWF classes -- try to ensure that your third class is a small, interactive class, such as a language class, College Writing, or a Freshman seminar.  If you're tired, it can be easy to zone out in a large lecture class . . . but not so easy if you're one of only 12 students in a discussion course!
  • Be realistic about whether you really are a morning person.  You don't want to register for an 8:00 class if you're likely to sleep through it regularly.
  • If a course only has one section, enter it into your worksheet first to preserve its time.  You can then fill in your schedule with the more flexible, multi-section courses.
  • Don't forget subsections!  When using the Registration Worksheet, you are not required to enter a subsection; however, you will be required to enter one when you actually register.  Remembering to schedule the subsection on your worksheet will make the actual registration process go much more smoothly.