Whether you are in your first year or are a seasoned senior ready to register for the last semester of undergrad, it is always wise to craft a path of your own within your course of study. While a majority of schools have a suggested track for each respective major there is usually some wiggle room in terms of electives and other requirements.
The first step to a successful scheduling season is checking in with an advisor or trusted professor when possible. Chatting about your dreams and aspirations with members of academia helps when they might already have suggested courses to try out based on previous students or perhaps an inside scoop on a new class being offered for the first time next semester.
This was the case at my school, as I like chatting with two or three professors before scheduling season to make sure I am making the best decisions with my courses and to get different feedback. For example, next semester a course being offered for the first time based on student demand is Venture Capital Management. While it unfortunately conflicts with my required Strategic Management class I definitely let my friends and organization members that the class will be offered for the first time next semester for anyone interested.
Scheduling might vary by school but whether you have a shopping period or a time to add or drop courses in the beginning of next semester, remember to use it to your advantage. Depending on whether you are more productive in the morning and afternoons some of the most successful students I know cater their schedule to their productivity strengths too. An example would be that a morning person could benefit from the semi-filled 8AM classes for their week freeing up their afternoon for extracurricular or leadership opportunities.
Additionally, there is benefit to making at least two or three what-if scenarios if certain classes you were interested in get full before your timeslot. Here is where you can use your freedom to cater those extra spots to classes you can use to your advantage in interviews and beyond. Taking a Java class even if you are not a computer science major can not only make you stand out but provide a new skillset if you were ever interested in design or website creation.
Another example, can be a non-technical class such as an art history course in which your knowledge of the arts can not only be a conversation starter but inspiring to de-stress in realizing how many themes that we consider modern have repeated themselves over various centuries visually.
Lastly, if you are ever in a situation in which you believe you are not going to fulfill your requirements to be on track for graduation, know that while the course might appear to have a cap online, sometimes certain professors are willing to make exceptions. In that case going to talk to them personally or a well-worded email can also be a way to ensure a successful next semester by obtaining your classes of choice. So remember to take a step back and see if the courses are fulfilling not only what is required but what you wanted to learn in college.
Aury Cifuentes is a very bubbly senior at The College of New Jersey. As an Economics major with a concentration in Social Justice she is happily working on a capstone project, internship, and thesis this year. When she isn’t studying, Aury is actively participating in the community through the Bonner Service program and working closely with her E-Board as president of Women in Business this year.