Tuesday, April 9, 2013

creating your schedule

One of my favorite things about the end of the semester (besides everything) is schedule picking. I'm the kind of person who stalks Howdy (the student portal) until the new schedules are posted and spends hours going between Howdy, MyEdu, and my department's website trying to figure out what I need to take with whom at what time. Because of my love for scheduling, I have a few pointers on how to pick the perfect schedule:

1. Consult your Degree Evaluation

Your Degree Evaluation, or DE, is a helpful little invention that lets you see what requirements you have fulfilled for your degree and what classes you still need to take in order to do so. This is a great tool when choosing classes because it lets you know what classes you should be taking to fulfill requirements. To find your DE, log in to Howdy, go to My Records, and scroll down to the third box in the middle and click "View Degree Evaluation" and follow the directions.

A section of my DE. Note: I edited out my grades. 

2. Use a 3rd party scheduler

There is nothing more frustrating than writing out a schedule with pen and paper. It's confusing and messy and doesn't show you what your schedule will really look like. That's why I use MyEdu.com. MyEdu lets you not only see what your classes will look like in block schedule format, but it also lets you see the grades for each professor teaching the class. This is helpful when two or more sections could work with your schedule but you want a professor who is easier or a class in which students got better grades. You can also read reviews about classes and professors so you know what to expect.

My fall work-in-progress schedule

A sample of grades for each professor

Class/professor reviews

3. Ask fellow students

There is nothing more insightful than hearing first-hand how a class is. If you're a part of a class group (ex: Aggie Class of 2015), post a question for students to answer, such as "Which professor is the best for POLS 206?" or "Is so-and-so easy or hard?" or "Should I take English at A&M or a community college?" Students who have been there, done that will be willing to help you make better choices than they did.

My question on the Aggie Class of 2015 Facebook page

4. Have a back-up plan and be flexible

Chances are, at least one of the classes you're pining over is going to be filled before your registration time comes. That happens. I've been waiting to take Creative Writing for four semesters now, and I probably still won't be able to get it for next semester. Make sure you have a few classes on the back burner just in case a class or two fills up. The most important thing is that you don't get hung up on the fact that you didn't get a certain class - be flexible with section times and professors, especially if you'll need to take the class eventually anyway.

5. Write down your CRN numbers

Don't rely on searching for every class (unless you want to check to see if other sections are open when yours closed). Write down the CRN numbers (the 5 digit class ID numbers) on a piece of paper or a Word document so you can type or copy/paste them into the fields when registering. This will make the process go much faster, especially when competing against several hundred other people.

Where to find CRN numbers

Scheduling takes time and dedication, but if you play your cards right, you'll be able to get a pretty decent schedule. Here's a few more quick tips:

  • If you can register as a student athlete, student worker, or honors student, DO IT. 
  • Wake up at least 10 minutes early for your registration time.
  • Don't take 8 ams unless absolutely necessary. Because let's be honest, you won't go.
  • Make sure you have time to eat lunch between classes (or suffer, like I currently am).
  • Be realistic - if you love sleeping late, don't sign up for early classes you'll be inclined to skip.
  • Read the syllabi, if available, before choosing classes.
  • Don't take night classes, especially if you want to be able to participate in organizations
  • Having only classes on Tuesday/Thursday can either be great or terrible. 
  • Online classes take dedication. If you're lazy, don't bother.
I hope y'all found these tips and tricks helpful. Be sure to check Howdy this week to see when your registration date/time is (hurry - Honors registration starts Thursday, April 11th!) And most importantly, good luck!

Much love,

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