‘Tis the season to plan your schedule for next semester. Yes, already. Which means it is time for a reminder that you Need! To! Plan! All! Four! Years!! Don’t go semester by semester to plan out your classes. That is how you guarantee that you will be in school at least an extra semester, taking a 100 level class you forgot your sophomore year. So. How do you actually plan out four years of academic classes?

Spreadsheets, my friend. Spreadsheets.

1. Put EVERY SINGLE CLASS YOU NEED IN A SPREADSHEET. Find planning sheets for your majors. Many schools put them up online and a Google search can find them. You should also have a report of some kind you can find in your school’s web portal, that lists exactly the classes and requirements you need.

List every single dang class. Including gen eds! Be specific where the reports give you a course number and name, but for gen eds you can just write down the name of the requirement you need to fill. If you need three classes in a certain requirement, write each one in a separate box. Yes, this is tedious. Do it anyway.

2. List the semester each class should be taken column B. If a class is second semester junior year, write the number “6” in the cell next to that class. If a class doesn’t have a required semester, but needs to be taken after another class, write the name of the class it needs to be taken after. If there is simply no required semester or prerequisite, just leave it blank. Again, do this for every single class.

3. Write the number of credits each class is worth in column C. Easy enough.

4. Select everything you’ve written so far, and sort column B alphabetically. That’s your course semester number column. If it works right, the other two columns you also highlighted should be sorted along with the semester column, so everything is still lined up right. If not, hit undo and then google a clearer explanation that mine.

5. Slot those miscellaneous classes in where you have room. Gen eds should probably happen ASAP, to get them over with. Try not to overload credits on any one semester – you want to have about an even number of credits each semester. Make sure you slot classes that have a prereq (remember, you listed that classes prereq in the semester number column?) AFTER that prereq. Not at the same time, not before. My school did not appreciate that.

6. You now have a list of classes you need each semester! Bring this spreadsheet to your adviser with pride.


If anyone wants a clearer explanation, I can post my own personal spreadsheet, so you have a visual. I hope this helps at least one other person have a clearer, simpler class registration process!

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