When the schedule of classes comes out every semester, Aubrey Hall, a junior exercise science major from Dothan, does not waste time planning his classes.
He does not procrastinate, like some students.
“I look as soon as the catalog comes out,” Hall said.
He even has a backup schedule in case classes get filled, which has happened in the past.
One time in particular, he could not register for a class because he had not completed the prerequisite, a class Hall was enrolled in at the time.
By the time everything got sorted out, the class was already full and Hall had to take another class.
Having these sorts of troubles with registration seems to be consistent with most students’ issues, whether they are like these or different.
Two classes you need are offered only at the exact same time, so you have to choose which is the least detrimental to postpone.
A class is offered only once a year, so you have to plan around it.
Some instructors even take turns teaching classes.
“I have waited until that specific term to take that class with the instructor I like,” Hall said.
Not being able to get into a class has also put some strain on Hall trying to graduate on time.
Graduating on time is important to a lot of students who are on scholarship because some scholarships will pay for only four years, whether you finish or not.
“It’s caused me to take classes during the summer to be able to graduate on time,” said Hall, who has taken “six or seven” classes over the summers.
Becky Allbritton, a junior elementary education major from Prattville, takes an approach to preparation similar to Hall’s.
“I look at the schedule of classes right when it comes and look at my program evaluation to see what classes I need,” Allbritton said. “I write all the classes out on a sheet of paper and pick which ones to take based off of the ones that fit together.”
Allbritton uses the new Student Planning tool because it “puts a lot of information that (she needs) all in one place.”
Sometimes, though, changes can occur even with the most carefully planned schedule.
“I got on Web Express over the summer to check my class schedule,” said Allbritton. “I saw that they moved one of the class times to the time of another class I was taking without telling me.” She had to completely redo her schedule.
Allbritton also said she is taking 21 hours of classes this semester to make sure she can still graduate on time.
Another tool Allbritton uses is the website Rate My Professors.
This is a website where students can anonymously review instructors and comment on helpfulness, clarity and easiness.
“It’s useful if your professors are on there,” said Allbritton. “But you kind of have to take what it says with a grain of salt.”
Preparing a schedule is different for everyone, and sometimes still is not enough.
I work 35 to 40 hours every week, so I have to keep that in mind. Some people commute from a different city, so they schedule classes only on certain days or times.
Not everybody fits into one generic box.
Scheduling will never be perfect, so we need to strive to do the best we can with what we have.