Three Steps to a Mock/Trial Schedule

In the last post, we kicked off registration season by talking about how to choose courses for the upcoming term. This time around, we’ll be discussing three easy steps to create a mock/trial schedule. The reason I’m suggesting that you do this is simple: if you know what courses you need to take and develop a schedule based on those courses, the appointment you will have with your advisor can focus less on the nuts and bolts of what day you want to take math and more on career goals, internships and your life’s calling.

Even though you’re learning the tools to make your own schedule and take your own degree progress in your own hands, this should not replace advising. Always discuss your upcoming term course choices with your advisor.

Just like in our last post, you may need to gather or make sure you have access to a few pieces of information. Putting these together will ensure that you can create a customized plan that will work for your needs.

What you’ll need:

  • List of courses you should take for the upcoming term (this is the list you created based on the previous post)
  • List of other commitments and the days/times they occur
  • Access to the schedule of classes for the upcoming term (list of offered courses and the days/times they’ll be offered)
  • Access to a campus map
  • Course Schedule Planning Worksheet

The first thing I recommend is blocking out any times that are non-negotiable. For example, if you have to work at the same time each week or if you have to pick up a child or sibling after school each day, you should make sure that you have enough time to get to or come from class, so make sure you block out enough time in your schedule for these activities.

Next, let’s figure out which courses are “rare” courses. By rare, I mean courses that only occur in one semester per year (i.e., only offered fall term and not spring or summer) and courses that only have a few sections (i.e., days/times offerings) or only one section. Look up each of your classes to see how many sections of each course are offered for the upcoming term. I would say that anything with fewer than three section options would be considered rare. You can supplement this information by taking a look at the course description in the academic catalog. Go ahead and add these courses/sections to your planning worksheet. These are the courses that should be the foundation of your schedule.

Now it’s time for everything else. Once you’ve blocked out your non-negotiables and rare courses, the space you have left is where you can put the rest of your classes. When scheduling classes back-to-back, make sure you have enough time to get from point A to point B. The best way to help determine that is to take a look at the campus map to check the distance between buildings. Also, if your school has multiple campuses or online courses, make sure you check for those things.

What do you think – does this help make sense of how to put together a schedule? How did you make out with the Course Schedule Planning Worksheet?

If you have any questions or suggestions, please know I’m only a few keystrokes and clicks away. College planning isn’t easy, but you don’t have to struggle alone – let’s work through it together! Ask me!


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