Do this, not that: College planning

In a couple of days, seniors will graduate and officially become college students. Preparations for the school year will take place during the summer. Attention to details is important, especially when it comes to planning class schedules. Here are some do’s and don’t’s of college planning to ease the burden.

  • Plan your classes before going to orientation. Look up degree plans for your major and use the school’s course directory to plan accordingly. If you want to take it a step further, plan through senior year.
  • Use Rate My Professors. When you are looking up courses, usually professors will also be listed. Search their names and read their reviews. Choose the professor you think will fit you best.
  • If you haven’t already, choose the earliest freshman orientation date. You will get to choose classes there and the “good” ones, which have a limited space, will fill up quickly.
  • Start with core courses. This will expose you to various subjects and something may catch your eye and change your career path. In addition, you’ll have more time to focus on classes related to your major later.
  • Take the AP credits for core courses, such as social sciences or history. There’s no need to take psychology or government again if you’re an engineering major. This saves room for important courses that relate to your major.
  • Research graduate and professional schools now. If you plan on going to schools for medicine or law, you usually have to take prerequisite courses before you can apply. See what courses they require by researching potential schools and plan accordingly.
  • Choose 8 a.m. classes. You may be able to wake up early now, but the temptation to sleep in and skip class will lure you since attendance in college usually isn’t mandatory.
  • Overlap your classes. Make sure you leave enough time between your classes so you can arrive at the next one on time. Also, spread your classes out through the week. You’ll feel drained if you have to take all your classes in one day.
  • Take more than 15 credit hours, which is about 4 classes, your first semester. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself the moment you step on campus. Take it easy the first semester so you can get used to your new surroundings and get the hang of how college works.
  • Take the AP credits for classes that are specific to your major. Even though you worked hard in your AP class, it’s best to not take the AP credit for biology if you’re majoring in biology. Professors expect you to have prior knowledge before entering the class and only will skim over old concepts. Unless you have completely mastered the information and retained everything, you will be lost in the upper level courses and your GPA will suffer too.
  • Buy new textbooks. They usually cost hundreds of dollars and you will only use it for one semester. Instead, buy used books or rent. They may have some wear and tear, but the information is still the same. Sometimes, books that are an edition or two older barely have any changes and are less than half the cost. Amazon, eBay and Barnes & Noble are good websites to find books.