Schedule Planning 101

March 21, 2023

Schedule planning can seem like a daunting and arduous task, but as a type A person, I love the idea of planning my classes. Here’s some advice from a soon-to-be-graduate on how to get the classes you want and plan out the perfect schedule for you!

Step #1: Make a Plan

Scary, I know. But having some semblance of a plan can really ease your stress when it comes down to actually choosing your classes. You don’t need to have every specific class laid out, and honestly, not even a four-year plan is necessary. Just knowing what you want to take in the next year or so can be really helpful in class planning. Berkeley has great class-planning resources such as four-year planning templates that you can utilize. I’d recommend checking out requirements for your major (intended or declared) and seeing how you could fit some of those classes into your schedule. You can throw in breadth classes, units for electives, and just general space to see how your semester might be looking. From there, it’s onto the real hunt.

Step #2: See What’s Offered

What’s great about Berkeley is the abundance of classes offered here. For a lot of major requirements, there are often more than one class you can take to fulfill it. I would take a good hour or two to check out the semesterly-updated class schedule to see what classes interest you. My favorites to check out are the elective courses and courses specific to my major since it gives me the opportunity to see what fun classes I can take in conjunction with any required classes. Along with interest in the subject, I try to take into account the professor that’s teaching, the time and location of the class, and how many units it is (so I can see how heavy my courseload is in a given semester). It’s good to have more classes than you think you’ll need in case scheduling doesn’t work out, so find as many classes that suit your needs!

Step #3: To The Scheduler!

The last thing you need to do is take all of this research to your scheduler! I am a big fan of Berkeley’s course scheduler for so many reasons, but my biggest reason is the algorithm that shows you all the possible combinations of schedules based on classes and breaks you choose. It saves so much time rather than manually checking each lecture and discussion time, and it can account for as much (or little) time you want to be on campus on a given day. I’m a night owl that enjoys having my classes together, so I try to schedule all of my classes on a few given afternoons to accommodate my personal, work, and extracurricular schedules. I’ll usually go through a few of the options that the scheduler offers and narrow the options down by locking in classes whose times work perfectly for me. This forces the algorithm to recalibrate around that locked class, often reducing the amount of options from hundreds to just a few. This is especially useful for required classes or classes taught by multiple professors. Once you’re satisfied with your schedule, all you have to do is send it to the shopping cart and enroll when it’s time.

Step #4: Have Backups

One major tip I have is to have backup classes! After I add my ideal schedule to my shopping cart, I go back to the scheduler and see what other classes either work with my existing schedule or could take the place of a class I may not get in. Once I’ve found these classes, I’ll manually add them to my shopping cart (since the scheduler will override your existing cart). This is super helpful when I’m actually enrolling as I can quickly go back to my shopping cart and try to enroll in a substitute when my first-choice classes are taken.

Step #5: Enroll!

Now, all you have to do is enroll! This can be a super stressful time, so I’d recommend trying to find a quiet place for yourself and trying to enroll on the dot. I like having the page open and just refreshing when it’s time so I’m not looking for my enrollment page. Remember to check “add to waitlist” as an option when enrolling so you have the opportunity to be waitlisted for a class. In my experience, I’ve gotten into almost all classes I’ve been waitlisted for, so don’t fret if that’s what you see! And, at worst, if you can’t get in a class, your backups will come in handy.

While class planning can be stressful, it’s also an exciting time to explore your interests and see what Berkeley has to offer. Best of luck on getting your ideal classes and go bears!

<3 mik