There’s an art to choosing your college courses. But the experience can be a drag without a plan. Everyone dreads this time of the year. Imagine, college course registration just opened up and you’re panicking trying to make of a couple of things. You want to make sure that you’re getting your preferred course, and that it gives you the credits that you need. I’m here to drop some gems. Here’s how to go about making your college experience fun, while also staying on track to graduate on your projected timeline! 

I’m currently in a two year program where I’m headed to get my associates degree.

Juggling college courses, work, and running a business, I still try to balance a social life. At most times it seems impossible. I constantly stressed about how I will accomplish getting my degree. How would I not over stimulate myself by overloading my schedule? What’s the right balance of general education and electives? Should I get all of my hard courses out of the way now, or save them for later semesters? Will I have the motivation to rely on summer courses to make up for possible time lost during the school year? These are all overwhelmingly legit questions. And you might be unsure as to where to start. Don’t stress though, here are a couple of tips that have helped me. I hope that they will be of use.

Write It All Down

When it comes to mapping out your college career, a journal and/or a planner will be your best friend. Listing out all of the courses that you’re interested in is a huge help. Make note of how many credits each course is worth, and what interest priority each course has for you. Pay attention to everything to the smallest detail. For a lot of institutions, searching through course catalogs can swamp you very easily. There’s so many different names, professors, and class times. It can all be a lot! Save yourself from stressing out by marking down what grabbed your attention. Note which times will fit in your schedule, and professors that might have been recommended to you. In your free time, look over everything you’ve taken note of and sit with it! Think about what will work best with your schedule, interests, and overall goals. Make school work for YOU!

Pay Attention To Credit Requirements

For my programs, I need 60 credits to graduate. This is something I keep in mind when I’m making my planner for my school year. Once I take note of the courses that I’m interested in, I make sure to add how many credits it will give me. If you know you need to fulfill 9 credit hours for your fine arts and humanities classes, make sure every semester you’re taking at least one 3-4 credit class. It’ll save you fluster time in your last semester. That’s usually when you’re figuring out how you’re going to pull 10 plus credit hours out of thin air. A hard truth is knowing the balance of prioritizing courses that will help you accomplish that goal. 

Making Your Course Schedule Work For You

For my fellow students who are taking their general courses, don’t think you have to suffer through them all your first semester. Work your course schedule so that way you’re still taking classes that are more catered to your major. For most majors you need to take three classes of communications (English 101, 102, and Speech 101), one math class, and at least two science classes. Let’s just say you’re that working with a two year program. You can space those classes out and put the electives in between so you’re staying engaged with your major coursework. Most institutions won’t force you to take all of your general classes in the first semester. As long as you meet those requirements at some point, you’ll be on track to graduate. 

Here’s how I mapped out my first semester:

  1. English 101 – 3 credit units (communications requirement)
  2. Intro to Afro American Studies – 3 credit units (fine arts requirement)
  3. Contemporary Afro American Literature – 3 credit units (fine arts requirement)
  4. Child Psychology – 3 credit units (humanities requirement)

12 credit hours in total. 

These are some tips that have helped me stay organized and avoid an immense amount of stress when it comes to picking my classes. It made sure that I was on track with my credit requirements. At the end of the day we’re going to school to achieve what we have in mind for ourselves. So why make it a stressful process? My last tip is to take it easy on yourself, and understand that life happens. There’s nothing wrong with going outside of your projected timeline. School is not easy. Sadly, most institutions don’t go out of their way to make accommodations for what us students have going on in our personal lives. The goal is to graduate, and whenever that happens, is when it happens. You should be proud of yourself regardless of how long it takes you to get there. 

Alycia Kamil is a freedom fighter and believer of the people. She is a Freshman at Wilbur Wright College. Follow her writings, interests and more here.