Tips for creating your course schedule

Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2021

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What should I take and when? How to create the ideal class schedule 

Depending on your program of study, it can be a challenge to find which courses you should take and when during the week is the best time to take them. If you’re in Engineering, most of these decisions are made for you from day one. If you’re in Arts or Social Sciences, you can end up with a seemingly infinite number of ways to mix and match your courses, making the process of finding the best combination extremely time consuming. Here are some tips on how to create the ideal class schedule, along with a tool you can use to save yourself a ton of work. 

Early Bird vs. Night Owl 

A big issue many students run into is deciding whether or 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. classes are worth it. Although students try to avoid both, they can both be quite useful. For the former, it really comes down to how close you are to the university and what your alternatives are. For students who live in a region further away like Nepean, Barrhaven, or parts of Gatineau outside of Hull, it’s best to avoid morning classes unless you’re certain that you’re willing to get up in the morning to get there on time. You may find that it’s impossible to get enough sleep the night before, especially when essays and midterms come around and you end up having to choose between sleep and getting enough work done. Pro Tip: Assess your level of procrastination and determine if early morning classes are the right fit based on your habits. On the other hand, 10 p.m. classes, in my opinion, are almost always worth taking. If you’re already on campus until 5:30 p.m. one day, you might as well bite the bullet and spend the rest of the night there, especially if this can allow for a large chunk of free time on other days. This can result in less temptation to skip lectures. The only caveat is that if you live further away you can expect to get home at a much later time. 

To Break or Not to Break  

When deciding how many classes to take in one day, it’s important to consider that too many back to back classes can lead to high food costs, especially when you don’t live near campus. For example, if you have classes between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., you might be able to get breakfast in, but you’ll need to heavily rely on meal prepping if you don’t want to break the bank, especially if you need to be studying in the evening. This isn’t much of a concern if it happens once a week, but if two or even three of your days look like this you could easily spend an extra $20-40 a week eating out. Should this be your concern, it might be helpful to spread your classes out more and sacrifice a day off. Alternatively, you can purchase a block plan for the Dining Hall which would allow you 50, 75 or 100 single access swipes into the Dining Hall between classes to grab something to eat.  

Elect for Electives.  

Many students get hung up on figuring out exactly what electives are worth taking, especially when they get the choice of 5 or more over the course of their degree. If you’re really looking to boost your resume, it might be worth it to tack on a useful minor to your major. This can help round out your abilities and broaden the range of work you can find after graduating. For those who are still unsure of what to take, an interdisciplinary studies (AHL) course or two can help you figure out your areas of interest while also broadening your knowledge base for future study or work.  Need inspiration on what courses to take? Here are 20 fun courses you can take as electives.

Simplify your course schedule 

With all these factors to consider, it can feel a bit overwhelming to find the perfect course schedule. Fortunately, some talented uOttawa students were able to put together uSchedule This website allows you to select a number of parameters including the range of times you want your classes to take place in and if you’d like a lunch or evening break and generates ideal schedule options for you. uSchedule allows you to spend more time figuring out what classes you’d like to take and less time in uoZone rearranging your schedules until something works.  

Hopefully these tips can save you the hassle of being stuck with an annoying class schedule. Should you need more help with your course enrolment, you can register for a course enrolment help session with a mentor. They can answer your questions in real time. Course Enrolment help sessions are offered until May 27th.  

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