Managing Your Graduation Plan

Time Management: it’s bigger than just implementing a daily planner.

When it comes to the day-to-day stuff, even if motivation is lacking, getting the plans together generally goes okay. But when it comes to the big-picture stuff like planning out your classes, work, and internships semester-by-semester from now until you graduate, it really gets into the big leagues.

If you take the time to plan out the trajectory, you can lean back a little and see how all the pieces will come together in completing your undergraduate education! It’s also easier to make your classes feel more meaningful when you can see how each plays into a component of the course of study  you’re pursuing.

Here are a few tips to help get your mind in gear for the long-haul in planning for your graduation:

  •             Use a graduation planning map. (You can download the printable version by clicking here.This worksheet helps you map out exactly which classes to take in each semester, so you can make sure you don’t wind up in what should be your second-to-last semester only to find that you still have a 100-level class to take (not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything). This can help you organize your classes and your course load to help make sure you can graduate sooner without overloading yourself.
  •          Take into account your course load, not just your classes. If you take 12 credits a semester, but one of those semesters consists of three 4-credit 400-level major classes, you may end up pretty overwhelmed, even though your overall credit count may not seem particularly beefy. When possible, be strategic about the difficulty and time-intensive nature of the classes you take.
  •          Be aware of course offerings. Some classes are only offered in Spring/Fall, with the follow-up class only offered in Summer/Winter. Similarly, Spring/Summer terms can be great for getting prerequisites out of the way, but when planning your semesters out, make sure you know when your classes will be offered.
  •          Know your prerequisities! When making your graduation plan, always take into consideration the prerequisites needed for each class. Sometimes there’s a chance you can petition to take a class concurrently or transfer previous credits to fill a requirement, but make sure you have approval from the department (or professor, when possible) before you plant it in your plan. Remember that some prerequisites are more fixed than others.

Knowing how to manage your time as an undergraduate student will help you complete your undergraduate education more efficiently—you can rest assured that with the proper planning, you can gain a meaningful education knowing exactly how to get  from here to graduation!

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