Class schedule – tips on how to create your schedule

Planning out your class schedule is a form of art…it takes planning, research, creativity, flexibility, and – most importantly – a great deal of patience!

Here are some tips on how to create your class schedule:

Meet with a counselor – Counselors are available to help you select the right courses based on your own individual educational goal.  With hundreds of classes offered at SCC, it can get overwhelming trying to figure out what is required for general education or for your major.  For example, how do you know which transferable math class to take?  Do you need Statistics, Calculus, or Mathematical Discovery?  A counselor can guide you to the right direction based on your major, associate degree requirements, and/or transfer plans.

Understand the course numbering system – Each class is given a course number ranging from 1 to 499.  It is important to understand what the numbers mean so that you can select appropriate classes based on your goal.  Some courses are considered basic skills (not degree-applicable and not transferable), college level (degree-applicable, but not transferable), and transferable (CSU vs. UC transferable).  Of course, before you select your courses, you will want to take note of prerequisites particularly for math and English.  And, don’t just jump into a class because it is transferable…make sure that you are academically prepared and ready to tackle the course.

Follow your own educational path not that of your friends – Students often say things like:  “Well, my friend is following the IGETC so why shouldn’t I?”  Depending on your own individual educational goal, you may be following the IGETC or the CSU pattern.  Or, to make matters more complicated, if you are in a high-unit major such as Electrical Engineering or Biochemistry, you may not be following a GE pattern at all…your focus may be directed to your major preparation courses and minimum UC requirements.  A counselor can help clarify this information for you.

Think about your best learning environment – Why, oh, why would you take a 7:30 a.m. class when you barely make it out of bed every morning before 10:00 a.m.?  Not only are you half awake in class, but then you miss out on important lectures and information.  Think about when you learn the best during the day…are you more alert and attentive in the morning or in the afternoon?  If you do decide to take a class outside of your best learning environment, it will be important for you to keep yourself motivated, energized, and – yes – AWAKE!

Balance school, work, and personal life – So often, students want to finish their degree or transfer requirements in “2 years or less.”  Unfortunately, that may not always be possible depending on your many obligations and responsibilities in life.  Students aren’t only juggling college classes, but they are also employed, have families to take care of, and are involved in community or personal activities.  If you are in this situation, it may not be wise to take a full-time load because your focus or attention may drift away from your studies.  Sometimes it is better to take LESS CLASSES and to DO WELL than to take a full schedule and then struggle.  The last thing that you want to do is to drop courses or to receive a substandard grade.

(Side note:  Don’t forget that there is a new course repeat policy!  Students can only take a course THREE TIMES within the district.  Even if you drop a course with a “W,” that attempt still counts.)

Understand how to read the SCC class schedule – Did you know that your Art History class is located all the way in the Davis Center or that your Sociology class doesn’t actually start until mid-semester during the 2nd 8-weeks?  Also, did you know that your Quantitative Analysis class has a prerequisite of a full year of General Chemistry which has a prerequisite of…well, you get the picture, right?  As you go through the SCC class schedule, look for important details – including how often the class meets, the location of the class, the time of the class, and the class prerequisites.

Focus on required courses – We all have a list of “fun” classes that we want to take – like piano, fitness, and art.  And, sometimes if we plan correctly, these “fun” classes can fulfill general education, major, and/or elective requirements.  However, with changes in Financial Aid, students will only be paid for classes that are part of their goal.  This means that if you enroll in classes that are not required for your program of study, you can still take the classes, but Financial Aid will not pay for them.

Don’t forget about math and English – Okay, so it’s not that you forgot about math and English…you just didn’t want to take them…ever.  Well, if you plan to receive an associate degree or plan to transfer to a university, math and English are CRUCIAL.  Also, having a strong background in math and English will help you to succeed in other general education and major courses.  Take math and English every semester – without skipping a semester, if possible – until you reach the level that you need for graduation or transfer.

Know your registration date – Every student – whether continuing or brand new – is given a registration date.  DO  NOT  MISS  YOUR  DATE!  By the time you realize that your registration date has passed, your preferred classes may already be closed.  And, if you have a hold that is preventing you from actually enrolling in classes (such as a library fee or dismissal), take care of it immediately.

Don’t enroll in random courses or excess units simply for Financial Aid – Yes…getting financial assistance to attend college is important, but it is also important that your classes reflect your current educational goal.  The purpose of Financial Aid is to assist students in reaching their specific educational goal…and that means taking the appropriate and required courses.  Also, don’t enroll in a full load of classes if you have other responsibilities to take care of such as family and work.  To continue qualifying for Financial Aid, you must make satisfactory progress every semester – including course completion and GPA.

Don’t try to cram all of your classes into two days– There are seven days in the week and, fortunately, SCC offers classes every day!  (Yes, even on Saturdays and Sundays!)  Many students try to cram all of their classes into two days and that makes for a tough – and exhausting – schedule.  When you have a full-time schedule packed into two days, you can easily find yourself on campus for 10 hours each day, especially if you have a combination of lectures and labs to attend.  If possible, try to spread out your schedule throughout the week and add in some study time.

Maximize the amount of time that you spend on campus – There is a good chance that you will have breaks in between your classes.  It may be helpful to intentionally avoid having back-to-back classes so that you can use the time to study, to complete your homework, to read chapters, and to seek tutoring.  Sure – it may be tempting to hang out in the quad or to play video games in the Student Center, but those activities are NOT going to get you closer to your educational goals.  What will help is to stay focused on your studies and to use your time wisely!

Know what type of class you are enrolling into – A majority of students prefer to take “traditional” classes where they meet at a specific time and a specific location with their professor and classmates.  These classes are ideal because students can actively engage and interact in live class discussions.  SCC also offers different types of courses, such as “online” and “hybrid.”  These courses are NOT face-to-face and may require that you access class information and assignments through your professor’s class website.  The class schedule will always list the type of class that is offered, so be on the lookout for key words such as “online,” “hybrid,” or “computer assisted.”  (On the same note, be on the lookout for other important words like “Davis Center” and “West Sacramento Center.”  These centers are NOT part of the main campus.)

The Los Rios colleges do not always have the same course numbers – Ok…ARC, SCC, CRC, and FLC are all part of the SAME DISTRICT, but we have DIFFERENT COURSE NUMBERS sometimes.  For example, if you place into Math 34 on SCC’s assessment test and decide to take that class at a different college, you will NOT find it.  The reason for this is that Math 34 at SCC is called Math 30 at ARC, CRC, and FLC.  Here’s another example:  “Public Speaking” at SCC, CRC, and FLC is called “Comm 301,” but is listed as “Speech 301 at ARC.

and lastly…

Submit required petitions BEFORE you enroll into classes – Not every students starts their college journey at Sacramento City College.  We have many students who previously attended college from different parts of the country…even OUTSIDE of the country!  For example, there are petitions that can be submitted to determine what level of English and math you are ready for based on your previous college coursework.  (We don’t want you to re-assess if you don’t have to or to take a class that you’ve already completed somewhere else.)  Additionally, there are petitions for students who are on dismissal and wish to return to SCC.  Some of these petitions have deadlines so it is important to get the process started as soon as possible!