Picking the perfect college schedule

By Jen Wozniak
August 27, 2009

Let’s face it, choosing a class schedule in college can be stressful, especially as a freshman. People often ask: What classes should I be taking? With what professor? How many credits should I have? Should I avoid classes five days a week? And, how can I avoid the dreaded 8:15 class?

What makes the decisions even harder? Not having a major yet. But don’t panic.

People go through college all different ways- getting rid of required classes first, heading full force into the major they have chosen or trying out a variety of majors.

Is there one correct way? Maybe not. But with some planning and research you will have all of your questions answered and be well prepared to choose classes when the time comes.

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I came to college. In high school, I did well in a variety of subjects and there wasn’t one subject that I hated or that stood out as something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Therefore, I started college “undeclared.”

My advice is to not take all of your required classes freshmen year, but to try out different majors as a freshman or even sophomore. I took a couple of classes in accounting, business and psychology before finding that I wanted to be a communication major.

This doesn’t mean that you should leave all of your required classes until your junior or senior year either. Spread Cabrini’s required classes out over all four years, and you will be able to fit them all in as well as end up in a major you love.

Plus, you won’t be shocked when senior year is winding down and you find out you can’t graduate because you never took a science with a lab.

Many students do try to have one day of the week off. If this is possible, then I am all for it. Every semester I have had classes only four days a week, and I’ve used the extra day as a study day or a day to work. This has worked out really well.

Some people will argue that the best day of the week to have off is Friday. Great, you start the weekend early. But I’ve found that Friday isn’t always the best day to have off.

This approach leaves you in “weekend mode,” and I often slept in really late and never did the work I planned on doing. This does sound good, but in the end I was less stressed when I had off in the middle of the week and got more work done ahead of time.

With a full workload of 12 to 18 credits, it is easy for some people to say that they want to concentrate on their schoolwork and not be involved in other activities or sports.

As much as I like to focus on getting good grades, I could not disagree more with this statement.

A large part of college is meeting new people, making friends and finding out who you are, so it helps to be involved around campus and attend campus events. Try to get involved in at least one activity and you will enjoy your college experience so much more, and have friends to stay with on the weekends.

As for what professors to take for your classes, ask friends and upper-classmen about what professors they enjoyed having. And it’s not always about who was the most fun or who made you write fewer papers.

If you find a professor whose teaching method you like, even if they assign more work, take them again for another class if possible.

I’ve really liked having teachers multiple times. These professors will know the most about you and can be very supportive in helping you decide your future plans or land a job after college.

When the time comes for deciding your classes for spring semester, talk to your adviser and make sure you understand what specific classes are required of your major and of Cabrini. Always have backup classes just in case, and you will be less stressed and better prepared on registration day come mid-semester.

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Jen Wozniak

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