Setting Up Your College Class Schedule

You’re at college and it’s time to pick classes. Now what? We walk you through the process of choosing classes, registration and finalizing your schedule.

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Choosing your college schedule of classes is a lot of fun. It can be exciting to choose college classes, read the course descriptions and imagine all the amazing things you’re going to learn.

But there are some common pitfalls that students fall into while registering.

Deciding Your College Schedule

The first step in setting up your class schedule is deciding which classes to take. It seems simple, but just browsing that class catalogue can be tough. There are so many classes to choose from, so pick classes that you’ll need for your major. Or if you haven’t decided on a major, pick classes that sound exciting and interesting.

Remember also that there might be some classes you are required to take. A lot of schools require freshman writing classes, but these fill up very fast. You might want to sign up for them quickly. Not taking them right away might hurt you in the future.

You also need to think about class times. Do you want all your classes on Tuesdays? You might have a long weekend, but you’ll get completely burned out on Tuesday and maybe be more likely to miss information, fall asleep in class, or skip class entirely. Make sure to fit class times together in a way that makes sense for your own schedule.

You have to plan time to study, too. Classes usually don’t meet every day, and they certainly don’t give you time to study in class.

Requirements for College Classes

Take a look at the prerequisites. Don’t sign up for classes you won’t be able to take. Sometimes, especially with online class registration, you will be able to physically sign up for a class even though the school wouldn’t allow you to take it. Then, when school starts, you’ll have to drop the class anyway, and you’ll be stuck choosing a new class from all the leftovers.

Make sure you know the requirements for each class.

Surviving College Registration

After you have your college schedule planned, it’s time to register. Find your enrollment time, and go for it. Most schools have online class registration. Learn about rules for priority enrollment or early registration. This way, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Your College Schedule: Tips and Tactics

  • Many colleges have a period of time during which you can add and drop classes for a few weeks before having to commit completely. Take advantage of this.
  • Advanced Placement credit, transfer college credit or other credit derived from placement tests may allow you to pass out of some classes and take more advanced or interesting ones. But build in time to make sure that your credits are counted. Read more about transferring college credits here.
  • Balance your schedule. Don’t take too many easy classes in the beginning, or you’ll have to take a lot of hard classes later on. Save some easy classes or general education requirements for later on so you can have a little break from all the other work you’ll be doing.
  • Read our article about getting into the college classes you want. Even as a freshman, if you play your cards right, you may be able to get into all the classes you want.


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How Should I Pick My Freshman Year Classes?
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Hardest College Classes
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What is a Freshman Seminar?
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