In the military, your schedule is laid out for you and you follow it no questions asked. Going to college after transition can be a big change since your schedule is up to you. Here are a few tips on how to make your college schedule work for you!
1. Make sure to give yourself some down time.
It’s easy to create a full schedule without any regard for down time. It is important, however, to give yourself some time every week to relax and de-stress. It may be difficult to find this “elusive” time in a schedule packed with school, work and other obligations of adult life. So we recommend you plan ahead to give yourself this time. Whether you spend a few hours at the gym a week, go out with friends, or just watch some Netflix at home, make sure your schedule consists of more than just work. You will perform better in classes and be less likely to burn yourself out if you follow this tip.
2. Balance difficult and easy classes.
Try not to schedule all difficult classes or all easy classes in one semester. All easy classes may become boring, and you risk losing interest. Not to mention you have put off all your difficult classes for another semester. All difficult courses can obviously become overwhelming.
3. Consider getting your core classes done first.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Getting all your core classes done allows you to focus on your major during junior and senior years. This means that you will have the skills from two years of college to apply to the courses that really matter. It also will ensure that you do not miss graduation due to a core requirement that does not even interest you. Lastly, it gives you time to change your major. If you go into school and take major courses right away, then change your major (like many college students, including myself, do), they will be wasted credits.
4. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
This is your chance to sleep in! If you struggle with mornings, then don’t torture yourself with early morning classes. If you maintain your military lifestyle and can’t sleep past sunrise, then take some earlier classes and be done early.
5. Leave time to study and read.
The rule of thumb for college is, for every hour you spend in class you should spend two hours studying and reading the text. Make sure to give yourself this time during the week. If you create a schedule packed with school and work and plan to do all of your homework on Sundays, you may run into a problem. Professors will expect you to be doing readings in between classes during the week. Keep in mind finals as well. Plan to be putting in a lot more study time during the weeks leading up to midterms and finals.
6. Rate my professor.
Ratemyprofessor.com offers student reviews of professors, as well as articles designed to help students. It is completely free and allows you to get a feel for how much work you will be putting into each class.
7. Warning about evening classes.
Many schools bill evening classes differently than day classes. Make sure to speak with your academic advisor or financial aid department before signing up. Even with the GI Bill, it may not cover all the costs of evening courses at a private institution.
One of the most important themes in creating a schedule is balance. Too much of any one thing can be bad. Taking on too much and burning yourself out is easy, so make sure to be aware of your endurance. Make sure to work with your academic adviser; they will be able to help you with your schedule in its entirety, not just classes.