Being a college student emphasizes the importance of organization, time management and planning. If you know someone who is in college, you have probably heard them talk about how busy they are. It’s often true that you have more homework and commitments in college than before. However, it’s also true that you have more unscheduled time to fill than you’ve had since before learning your ABC’s. Watch out, procrastinators; college is a whole new ballgame.
If you’ve never seen a sample college schedule like the one above, let's examine some of the finer points.
At many universities, a typical courseload has you taking 12 to 15 credit hours per semester. This might sound like a lot, but essentially it means that you will spend about one hour in the class per week for every credit hour (with the exception of labs). You could have three classes for an hour each on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (for a total of nine credits), plus two classes for an hour each on Tuesday and Thursday (for a total of four more credits), and have the rest of your time free.
Note: “Free time” does not always mean free. Even if your class schedule doesn’t look crazy, it doesn’t mean you won’t have other things to fill out your time. Homework generally fills a few hours per week per class. If you join a club, you can count on a meeting once a week. If you are working, you will be blocking out larger parts of your schedule toward paying the bills. And that doesn't count social time, eating, sleeping, relaxing or working out!
Classes typically range from 45 minutes to three hours. Some classes are one credit and meet only once a week. Be mindful of your scheduled classes and remember to prepare meals or snacks before the longer ones and set an alarm on your phone for the ones that are only once a week. (I know what you’re thinking! I think I can remember one extra class a week. Trust me...you’ll need that alarm.)
Here's a sample upperclassperson schedule, taken straight from the online portal like one many universities use for you to sign up for classes.
Below the course name and section is the time the course meets, followed by the building and room number. Be sure to look at the meeting place for each class in case one is OC (off-campus), so you don’t find yourself having to travel to partnering locations for your classes!
Most schools have a website where your professors will post grades, allow you to submit assignments and receive announcements about class. It’s especially important to check this website for any online classes so you know when things are due! In the sample schedule, the online class shows up below the weekly schedule under "Courses without assigned meeting times."
A good habit to get into is setting your schedule as your lock screen picture for the first couple of weeks each semester. You will be able to find your classes without logging in to your portal or carrying around a printed schedule, and you can check at a glance to make sure you get there at the right time.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty, so just remember that if you slip up and go to the wrong room or show up a little late, you're human and these things happen. Learn from it for next time!
is a senior majoring in Elementary Education at UNC. She’s working toward her licensure to teach in a third-grade classroom. In the meantime, she is studying leadership in the President’s Leadership Program and working with the Bear Hug Club and the Ambassadors for Student Leadership Club. She’s forgotten the meaning of "free time.