planning

Five Tips for Efficient Class Registration

The semester feels like it just started yesterday, but it’s already time to start planning next semester’s classes. Most colleges start enrolling for classes several months in advanced and competition for the best teachers and time slots is fierce. Registration can be the difference between a great semester and a nightmare. Here are five tips to help make your class registration quick and efficient.

Create a Graduation Guide

One of the best ways to plan your registration is to create a graduation guide. A graduation guide is a semester-by-semester plan of the classes you need to take in order to graduate. This can be a very daunting task, especially early in your college career. However, this is one of the most beneficial things to have when planning to register for classes. Begin by setting aside an evening to sit down and make your graduation plan. Be sure to include classes for all your majors and minors and arrange them so all pre-requisites are met. College graduation may seem a lifetime away, but with a plan in hand you can know the exact semester of your graduation – and that is a great feeling!

Meet With Your Adviser

Its not always fun, but it is always necessary. Your adviser is the guide that will take you from confused freshman to confident graduate. Schedule an appointment with your adviser several weeks before registration so that you have your plan in place when it comes time to enroll. You can take your graduation guide to your adviser for feedback as well. They can double check that your plan is correct and will complete all the requirements for you to graduate.

Check and Clear Registration Holds

Some colleges will place a hold on your account that prevents you from registering for classes if you owe money. Check your hold status in advanced so that when you are able to enroll, you don’t find any surprises. The best way to prevent getting a hold on your account is to pay off fees as soon as they incur. Parking tickets, health center visits, and dorm room damages can all be a factor in your ability to register.

Select Classes and Backups in Advanced

Any college student can tell you that not all professors are equal when it comes to teaching and testing. To make sure you get the professors and class times you want, look through the course offerings in advanced and create the schedule that will work best for you in the upcoming semester. This does not guarantee you will get the classes you want, but having your preferences in advance will save you precious time when you are finally eligible to register. Speaking of time . . .

Register Immediately!

Most colleges use an elevated system of registration. Seniors are able to register earlier than juniors and so forth. This is a great system because it allows upperclassman to get the last classes they need before graduation. However, it can create a bit of a war when it comes time to register for underclassman. Classes have a limited number of seats and the best ones fill up fast. For the greatest chance of getting your preferred course schedule, you should register as soon as possible. If this means setting an alarm to wake up a 6 a.m. when you become eligible to register, then so be it! Get registered and get excited for another great semester!

Class registration is an exciting time every semester, and with a little planning it can be simple. Have any more tips to help register for classes? Leave them in the comments section below!

How to Create a Schedule for Success

create a schedule to-do

It’s almost the end of the semester which only means one thing: deadlines! With teachers adding last minute work, semester-long projects approaching their due date, and finals right around the corner, these last few weeks of school can be some of the hardest of the semester. Keeping up with work while staying sane is quite the challenge, but it can be done. The best way to manage these last few weeks is by creating a schedule. Here is a simple guide on how to create a schedule:

1. Make Your Schedule Template

A simple way to do this is by using Excel or another spreadsheet program. Label columns with the dates of the remaining school days and label rows in hourly increments.

2. Block Out Time Slots

It is extremely important to go to class during these last few weeks so make sure you put those into your calendar first. You will also add things like club meetings and appointments that you absolutely have to be at. You should make these events a bold color like red on your schedule so you know they are important and that time isn’t available for other activities.

3.  Add Optional Events

Add events that you want to go to but don’t have to. Things like parties, sporting events, and concerts are more enjoyable than school work, but not as important. If you are running out of time these events are the ones that can be missed for the sake of your grade. Make these events a different color on your schedule than mandatory events so you can tell them apart.

4. Add School Assignments/Projects/Tests

The fourth step will take the most time, but it is also the most important. Go through all of your syllabuses for all of your classes and make a list of the assignments, projects, and tests that you will have for the remainder of the semester. Next, estimate how long each task will take and block out the allotted amount of time on your schedule. Be realistic when estimating task times. You are not going to complete that 20 page report in 30 minutes. Don’t forget to set aside time to study for finals!

5. Add Necessary Personal Tasks

Finally, add time for necessary tasks such as sleeping, eating, and showering. It may seem like overkill to schedule sleeping time, but knowing that you have plenty of time to finish your work and still get a full nights sleep will reduce stress and allow you to sleep without worrying that you are behind. Any time that is not blocked out by these five steps is free time for you to enjoy.

Keeping up with the end-of-semester rush is a daunting task, but it can be accomplished. Making and sticking to a schedule will help you complete your work while still being able to enjoy your last few weeks. Finish strong and good luck! Have a good end-of semester survival tip? Leave it in the comment section below!

Planning a Summer Road Trip

Tired of drinking on home turf?  Looking for a last blow-out with your college buddies before you all go off your separate ways?  Plan a road trip!  There is nothing like being piled into a car rubbing elbows synching bathroom breaks and sharing moon pies to form familial bonds.  You’ll thank me later when you’ve got a full mailbox at Christmastime.  In this blog post I’ll talk about the major source of your budget drain, gas, how to make sure you’re still friends at the end (hint, it’s odor-related), and do a quick highlight of a trip planner I found helpful to plan my last epic cross-country trip.

Gas

If your car isn’t digital…

You can be allergic to math and figure out your gas mileage with this link. http://www.milesgallon.com/.  Google Maps will tell you your miles, highball the average gas prices, and you will have a gas budget and a cushion.

If you have a smart phone, and you’re not already using the www.gasbuddy.com app, do it.  GasBuddy relies on its user hive to report gas prices to help you find the cheapest spot to fill up.  It’s a pain-free way to save money on gas.  I use it all the time and it’s saved me up to 25¢ a gallon.

To save even more money on gas, there’s a methodology to up your gas mileage called “hypermiling,” the efficacy of which you will only know if you know your gas mileage, which handily, you have already calculated.  Some of the concepts are basic, like accelerating slowly after stops, one will make you look silly–turning your car off at red lights.  Overinflating tires, another concept of hypermiling, is probably dangerous.  I don’t recommend it.  Using cruise control to accelerate and decelerate was the most helpful tip I gleaned from my research.  The precise and slow incremental changes will increase your gas mileage, and it’s not a pain in the ass on the highway.  Hypermiling’s not for everyone but if you’re on a budget, have a full car and a lot of luggage dragging your car down, it might be worth looking into.

Febreeze

You will not be showering regularly, full car, hot summer, you do the math.

Trip Planners:

Though not without their faults, enumerated here: http://www.roadtripamerica.com/travelplanning/userguidefree.htm, these planners have their place.  They definitely help with the planning phase and any spontaneous stops that might happen on the way.  I mapped my route on TripTik and it looks like this:

This particular route starts in NYC, loops to Las Vegas for the epic Electric Daisy Festival (300 electronica acts and a carnival in one?  Yes, please!), swings back through my hometown and drops off friends in Kentucky to ultimately culminate back in NY.  This part of the planner isn’t particularly impressive since Google Maps can do the same thing, but the next tab over, Places, I did find impressive.  AAA has a huge database of restaurants, hotels, gas stations, campgrounds, events, bars, playhouses, art galleries, etc., and they give away their program for free.

What I love the most about this is it’s like getting the town guides you see in hotels, all in one place with no pamphlets, and you’re never surprised by prices in restaurants.  Free Wi-fi is everywhere now (McDonald’s, Starbucks, hotel lobbies) so this ends up being decently mobile even if you’re camping out.

I hope this helps!  Be safe, and take lots of pictures!

 

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