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7 Steps to Creating the Perfect Course Schedule

This post was inspired by my recently received horror of a schedule for my second semester as a freshman. I had Mondays off, but was greeted with two 8 AM starts and one 9 AM start (I have to commute), a 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM course, and large gaps between courses (up to 4 hours). However, my friend had a bomb dropped on him. His Thursday started at 10:00 AM and ended at 9:30 PM with only a single hour break from 5:00PM to 6:00 PM. That is 2/3 of his entire course load in a day. Needless to say, we are both seeking to change our schedules. Fortunately, Google Calendar is there to lend a helping hand.

Step 1: Create a calendar for each course you have to take next semester. In addition, create a calendar for your “desired schedule” and an “alternate” one in case an option is full.

Creating calendars

Step 2: Create an event for each course on your pre-assigned schedule to the first week of the semester. In the event name, include the professor, section #, and the class location. Add these to your default calendar created by Google (usually titled “first name last name“).

Assigned Schedule

Step 3: Pick one course by displaying only its calendar. This makes it easier to add time slots because your screen won’t be filled with entries from other courses.

Do one course at a time

Step 4: Create an event for every time slot available for that specific course (remember to include the professor, section #, and class location). Add these to the first week of the semester. Repeat for all your courses. Once done, you may have a crazy, colourful mess. In my course below, there are multiple professors and multiple tutorials.

All options for one course

Step 5: Display only your pre-assigned calendar and copy any time slot you like to your desired schedule as seen in the picture below.


Copy to your desired schedule

Step 6: Display both your desired and pre-assigned schedules. Note any time slot you don’t like due to time, professor, or location on campus. Also display that course’s calendar. Look for the options that don’t overlap with your desired schedule. In my course below, I had ACC406 at 6:30 to 9:30 PM (in orange). I only had one other option (Monday at 8 AM), but I’d much rather wake up early than commute back home only to fall asleep without any productive time left.

Changing bad courses

Pick your preferred option and copy it to your desired schedule (same as Step 5). You should also copy “decent” options to your “alternate” schedule just in case your #1 pick is full. Once done, uncheck displaying that course.

Step 7: Repeat step 6 for each course until you’ve created your optimal (but probably not perfect) schedule. You can view your final result by displaying only your desired schedule (same as step 3). You can see mine below.

My desired schedule

I ended up moving 5/6 courses. I no longer have a day off, but only have one 8 AM start and no night classes. I also removed all gaps from my schedule, but have five continuous hours on that 8 AM start. However, it was my only option to dodge the night class. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been finalized yet because the online enrollment appointment is scheduled during the winter break.

Remember to plan this ASAP so that you aren’t fumbling around with decisions during the enrollment period while others are snatching up all the good time slots.

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10 Responses to “7 Steps to Creating the Perfect Course Schedule”

  1. [...] Seven Steps to Creating the Perfect Course Schedule | GearFire [...]

  2. vanessa says:

    Looks like someone attends Ryehigh :)

  3. paulette says:

    You’re right, if you really wanted to have a pefect schedule, you have to be very organized with it. If you dont organize them, you are the one to catch them. The result organizing makes your life easier and saves your energy.

  4. Michelle says:

    I would freaking kill for software that’d automate the matrixing of class section options for me. I don’t even mind doing the data entry of typing in 30 sections of Gen Chem, if only some handy software would do the hard work of combining all 30 with the other 4 classes I have to take. Why doesn’t this exist? I’ve been Googling for an hour, and sad to say, this approach is the closest thing I’ve found. Thanks!

  5. Chris Y. says:

    Hi Michelle. I think the best source for a matrix solution would be to ask your school’s admin office. I always wondered how my high school assigned classes to students in the first place.

    Maybe this is where the math teachers make their real money =P

    Thanks for reading and good luck with the scheduling.

  6. This is pretty detailed. Thanks, I’m sure it was hard work, and we really appreciate it!

  7. that’s really perfect. i am so interested on it.

  8. Thank God I’ve found this steps on creating the perfect course schedule, now I can stop Googling around coz this approach is the closest thing I’ve found. Thanks a million!!

  9. aquabot says:

    Really an excellent method to create perfect semester. I am impressed by this one.

  10. Bidet says:

    This is a great way to create a good schedule. I always manage to have a heavy work load. So my schedule is always filled.