When registering, secure a copy of all the required courses that you will need for your field of study. In some colleges or universities, this is called a BINGO sheet. If you are unsure, look through the college course catalog and see what courses are required for your different interests. Register for those shared required courses.
Universities publish the schedule of the courses for the next semester. Do not discard these publications. With many courses being only offered during the spring or fall, this is the only tool that you have to learn when a specific course is offered or who teaches a course. Keeping these schedules becomes even more critical when you are planning your junior and senior years.
With the BINGO sheet in hand, begin to plan the courses that you will take during the next 3.5 years. This plan will change due to course changes, degree changes, etc. However, this 4-year plan provides you with the “BIG” picture and then allows you to begin to take small bites.
Plan your weekly schedule including study time, research time, etc. For each 3-hour course, expect to spend 2 to 4 hours per week. Some courses such as English Literature may require substantial reading. If you are a slower reader allow for more reading time. If you are only going to school for 15 hours per week, there is plenty of time to study before, in between and after your classes. Many baby boomer graduates worked full time jobs while taking 15 to 18 hours.
Every additional semester that you spend in college is costing you a minimum of $20,000 – $5,000 tuition and $15,000 in loss earnings. All of your actions should be directed to achieving your graduate goal date.