planning class schedule

4 Tips for Planning Your University/College Class Schedule

By StudentAwards
The following tips, originally posted at  StudentAwards Conversations, were contributed by students in our membership.

1. Time of Day

2. Class Length and Frequency

3. Breaks In Between

4. Hours per Day

1. Time of Day

Q. What are some tips on which day/time to choose your classes/tutorials? (posted by: skywalker)

A. Know yourself. Are you a morning person or are you more of a night owl? Plan your classes around the time of the day when you function the best. Don’t make it easy for yourself to skip classes, especially classes where participation and attendance count. (posted by: Spengler)

Some people like to have classes in the morning to get them out of the way, and to force them to get up. It can become very easy, when you have only afternoon classes, to sleep in, and lose out on a whole bunch of productive time during the day. (posted by: CatRunner)

A lot of on-campus clubs and activities take place either late in the afternoon or in the evenings. If you are heavily involved in clubs, intramurals, or other activities, then evening classes can quickly get in the way. (posted by: CatRunner)

Personally, I prefer to have classes in the morning and labs in the afternoon … I find I don’t do well in morning or evening labs (not awake enough in the morning, and too tired at night). (posted by: CatRunner)

Try to have classes that start around the same time every day. This year, my days started at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30 and 1:30. Because it was so irregular, my sleep schedule got screwed up because I didn’t have a typical time to wake up every day. Thus I ended up skipping morning classes. My friend always had 9:30 or 10:30 starts, and it was no problem for her since she got into a rhythm with her sleep. (posted by: treecows)

If you have different classes/timetables for two semesters, make sure that you keep the time when you need to wake up for class somewhat consistent. Last year I made the mistake of having my rounds of classes (and my day) start at 2:00pm first semester, and then moving to 2nd semester where I had 8:30am class every day of the week. It was absolutely horrible trying to switch between the two schedules, and forcing myself to wake up at 8:00 when I was used to waking up at 12:00. Serious lack of foresight there … caused a lot of class to be missed. (posted by: skittlesmeister)

With my schedule, I try to fit all of my classes between 8am-5pm, preferably finishing as early as possible … Most university students are not morning people, so I try to take classes that have me finishing at 2-3 in the afternoon, making myself very available for the rest of the day. I book my classes during “business hours” because school is my full-time job. (posted by: kiddinaround)

2. Class Length and Frequency

Q. What’s better? A class that is 1 hr 3 times a week or 3 hrs 1 time a week? (posted by: esin)

A.  Personally, I preferred the “3-hour” lecture, but I found that I retained more information if I went to class 3 times a week than if I went only once a week. (posted by: Spengler)

3. Breaks In Between

Q. Is it good to have classes back to back or a break in between? (posted by: skywalker)

A. Squash your classes up against each other. Don’t leave room for walking time, you’ll make it in the time they give you. You’ll hate life if you have hour breaks between all your classes. (posted by: beyondsection17) 

If you have a long day of classes you will want at least one break for lunch and to relax a little bit. (posted by: ktel) 

I wouldn’t advise having mad blocks of lecture together. I’d stick a break or lab/tutorial/seminar in between them just to give your brain a bit of a break. (posted by: treecows)

Small breaks are TIME WASTERS. Especially 1 hour breaks (useless!!) (posted by: waitaminute)

If breaks are unavoidable try to make them a meaningful length of time. (posted by: ktel)

I like having long breaks in between classes because it kind of forces me to do work while I’m out of rez. If I have a bunch of classes in a row and then nothing for the rest of the day, then I’m just burnt out … or I don’t want to do any work. And I’m really unproductive after dinner, so I have to get my work done during the day. (posted by: freebird)

I quite enjoyed 1 hour breaks between classes. I really like to read the newspaper and keep up to date with current events, and this was always a great time to do that. It was [also] a good time to check my email, socialize with friends, etc. Just don’t have like four 1 hour breaks in a day and you’ll be fine (posted by: kiddinaround)

4. Hours per Day

Q. Any thoughts on having 8hrs of class in one day? Just first semester? Last year, I had a fair balance each day, but this year it’s 8hrs in the middle of the week if I choose the electives I really want. (posted by: BusterBaxter)

A. I’d avoid this at all costs, but that’s just me… In first semester of this past year, I had 3 classes and 2 labs in one day = 9 hours (I had no choice in scheduling my courses here), and that was bad enough. I couldn’t imagine having 8 hours worth of lectures where I actually had to listen and retain information. At least with labs you’re not just sitting and listening to the prof. (posted by: Gorges26)

After my first year, I’ve realized that morning classes are awful (I am not a morning person) and I would rather have two days off and three days of class after class after class, because I don’t work well if I just have an hour or three between or after classes. (posted by: littleroom)

As a student with a 1 and a half-hour commute every day, I usually end up waking up around 5:30 every day and going to bed early. Since I am stuck at school from 8:30 until 4:30 (due to the train schedule) I try to make my classes as close together as possible. This year, I made my schedule so that I only have school two days a week. And yes, I took classes that I wanted to take. It takes some work, but it is definitely possible. And it is amazing, because it means I have less breaks between classes (short breaks suckkkkkkk) and am home 5 days of the week!!!!! So take some time, write down all the times and course codes for every class you are interested in, and then just cross-reference and make it fit! (posted by: Andi)

The ideal schedule for me: classes in the middle of the day, blocked together, for 4 days. FRIDAYS OFF! (posted by: waitaminute)