As a professor, I spent many years registering students for classes as well as helping them plan out their course work. Having experience helping college students plan out their college course work, I have accumulated a few pointers that can help you get the most from your college career.
Take into consideration if you are going to attempt a co-op arrangement. This will add knowledge and marketability to your resume but it will also cost you additional time in school. Add this to your plan. An internship is another option to consider and if interested, when do you think you would work it into your schedule. Write that down as well.
Do you need to work? Are you going to have work-study or work off campus? Make note of the amount of hours you will need to work and how that will effect your time management for course work. This becomes a big factor in how many credit hours you can manage each semester. Most students don’t realize that college course work is typically per hour in the classroom, you will be required to put an additional two hours personal time each week studying. This is just a suggestion, some classes will require more of you while other will be less. As an example, if you are taking ten hours of course work a semester; overall, plan on thirty hours a week being spent on studying and homework as well as in class time.
Another consideration for time management on a yearly basis is that course work gets harder the longer you are in school. Class requirements in your Freshmen year will be considerably less than the time necessary for your Junior year. If you were to look at the amount of credits required to graduate, and divide it by how many semesters you are going to attend school, you would not have an accurate plan. You should take more credit hours early on in your college career, leaving you the ability to take less credit hours later on in your college career. This will allow you to focus more on your studies and continue to do well.
Your college education is a stepping-stone to your career. You are studying in order to begin a career that you will hopefully earn and support yourself with for at least forty years if not longer. Taking this into consideration, it might be worth another semester in school in order to make better grades over all your semesters. It might be worth spending the time on that internship or co-op mentioned above.
Should you test out of course work? This can be a huge thing to consider. On one hand, you can move on to higher level courses and learn new and interesting information. On the other hand, if you have to fill those required credit hours with course work, you might be better off taking the easier class and doing well in it. The easy A will help your GPA. Make sure you know the school requirements when it comes to testing out of a course. Are you testing out of just the material? Or are you also testing out of the course credit hours? There is a big difference between the two.
Take time each semester to review your educational plan. Double check your plan each time you register for classes and make sure you are getting the most out of your course work, your money and the time you are spending in school.