It’s that time again. Students are staying up until midnight on their course scheduling date, frantically trying to validate classes, and hoping they will get the schedule of their dreams. The upperclassmen have been there before, and they know the stress and anxiety that accompanies this experience. Scheduling is not just about the classes you’re planning to take. There is so much more to it.
Although it may sound cliché, course scheduling is a game of strategy, and you have to be fully prepared if you’re trying to optimize your academic plan for the upcoming semester. Whether you’re an underclassman who’s new to the process, or an upperclassman looking for some new tips, VALLEY has got you covered.
Use LionPath to Your Advantage
Even though LionPath can be frustrating at times, it can be an extremely useful tool when it comes to class selection and working through the scheduling process. The “My Academic Requirements” section is one of the most beneficial features of the platform, since it shows which credit requirements you have satisfied, and what credit requirements you have left to fulfill.
If you’re not sure whether you need an inter-domain, a language class, or another course for your major, the “My Academic Requirements” feature will give you all the critical information you need. In addition, you can use the “What-If Report” if you want to understand your graduation plan or if you’re considering making a change to your degree.
The “What-if Report” is an extremely underrated tool for scheduling. It shows you every step you need to take in order to graduate. Considering how difficult it can be to get in touch with advisors without scheduling a month in advance, the “What-If Report” is a great substitute that gives you all of the knowledge of an advisor without the hassle of setting up an appointment,” says fourth-year student, Jon McCormack.
Have Multiple Options
When asked what her biggest piece of advice would be for scheduling, Maia Egan, fourth-year student advises, “Add multiple different options of classes to your cart in case the one you want is full when you go to register.”
Whether the class you want has 20 open seats or two open seats, there’s always a possibility that you’re not going to get into one of the classes you need. Keeping your options open is a helpful strategy when it comes to crafting your schedule.
For example, if you need a GHW course, have a couple of options in your shopping cart. If you happen to get into both, drop the one you don’t want to take so at least you’d be enrolled in one.
Use Rate My Professor
This may seem like a fairly obvious tip, but using Rate My Professor is critical. If a class you need has multiple sections with different professors, narrowing it down can make the scheduling process so much easier. When using the website, make sure you are considering the reviews that pertain to the class you will be taking with that professor, since they often teach a few different courses.
“I think checking Rate My Professor before scheduling classes is always important,” says fourth-year student Ben Serfass. “Getting some insight as to how professors teach and treat students is great information to have when considering which classes to take.”
Despite it being a useful tool, make sure to consider other sources when you’re trying to find information about a specific professor. Not all reviews are completely accurate, so talking to someone you trust who has taken the class can confirm whether online ratings are true.
Block Out Time
“Use schedule builder and make 8 a.m.’s not an option,” says Ryan Kulka, fourth-year student.
For most of us, these are words to live by. Conveniently, LionPath allows you to block out times when you know you don’t want class, or can’t have class. If you’re someone who works in addition to taking courses, or if you have certain extracurricular commitments at specific times, this tool is extremely useful. Once you block off a certain time, you will only be able to see classes that do not fall into that time slot.
Meet with Your Advisor
If you feel like you need some extra guidance, meeting with your advisor is a great way to learn more about your academic plan and understand what courses need to be taken. Your advisor can also give you information about course restrictions that could prevent you from scheduling classes your required classes.
Over the next few weeks, advisors are likely to have limited availability, so using some of these other tips can help you survive the scheduling season. It can be an intimidating process, but asking others for advice and using some of the helpful tools out there will make it so much easier.
What strategies do you use to curate the perfect schedule? Tweet us at @VALLEYmag!