Wayne State University

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University Advising Center

Planning Your Schedule

Although you have many requirements to complete for graduation, planning your schedule isn't as hard as it may seem. By using a methodical, common sense approach, you can easily ensure that you strike the right balance between your General Education and Major or Professional courses.

Consider These Planning Factors

Course Load:

•    CREDIT HOURS: Credit Hours Equal Time Requirements- for example, a 3 Credit Hour course meets for a total of 3 hours during the week.
•    STATUS: Full time Status Is Important-To be considered a full-time student, you must carry at least 12 Credit Hours. IF you carry less than 12 hours during a semester, it can adversely affect your eligibility for financial aid and health insurance.
•    SCHEDULE OVERLOAD: Danger! Find the Right Balance-Taking a semester load of 4 or 5 reading-heavy  or science courses with labs guarantees you major trouble. There's just not enough time to do anything well. Remember to balance your schedule.
•    RESTRICTIONS: Maximum Credit Hours:You cannot take more than 18 credit hours during a semester without the written permission of your advisor.

Labs and Discussion:
Many science courses have additional requirements beyond attending lectures. These requirements may include labs and discussion sessions. Don't make the mistake of overlooking these additional time requirements when planning your schedule.
•    LABS: Purpose-Labs are designed for practical application of lecture principles. They may, or may not, have an associated discussion.
•    DISCUSSIONS: Purpose-Discussion sessions are designed as key opportunities for getting additional instruction, help, and working problem sets.
•    TIME REQUIREMENTS: Requirements Vary-Discussions are usually 1 hour per week. Labs have time requirements ranging from 1 - 4 hours per week.
•    ATTENDANCE: Mandatory Attendance-Most labs have a mandatory attendance policy, and many departments won't allow you to make-up missed labs. Skipping labs can cause you to fail the entire course regardless of your earned lecture grade.

Degree Requirements:
Many incoming students assume that they should take only General Education requirements during their first year. However,  you need to consider beginning courses for your major or professional school as well.  A balanced schedule will include some general education courses and some major/professional courses.
•    THINK LONG-TERM: Timing Is Important-Most degree programs have a specific course completion sequence. Plan ahead, all courses are not offered every semester. If you get out of sequence, it may be very difficult to get back on-track.
•    THINK PRE-REQUISITES: Many of the required courses for your degree have prerequisites. Start taking your prerequisite courses as soon as possible.
•    TAKE A MATH COURSE: Don't Put Them Off:-Take a math course every semester until your math requirements are completed.
•    GENERAL EDUCATION: Take Something You Like-By taking something you like, you keep your schedule interesting.
•    GENERAL EDUCATION:Take Something You Don't Like:-Spread out these courses. If you keep avoiding them, you'll eventually end up with a semester you will absolutely hate.

6/12/08