Planning ahead: How to plan your schedule for next semester

Friday, September 30, 2022

Advisor talks with student.

As the semester approaches the spring 2023 registration period, it’s time to start planning your spring semester schedule.

Attend Academic Advising

Before registering for classes, every student must meet with their University of Georgia academic advisor. During advising appointments, you and your advisor discuss where you are in your academic journey, what your next steps should be, and where you want to be after you graduate.

You and your advisor should craft a semester by semester plan that suggests what courses and how many hours you should take each semester. This will help guide you in planning your upcoming spring semester and your future semesters.

Tip 1: Don’t be afraid to talk with your advisor

Advisors can help you with problems impacting your UGA student experience, beyond just fulfilling your academic requirements. You should share as much as you want with your advisor so that they can direct you to specific UGA resources.

“Just be as transparent with your advisor as you’re comfortable being so that they can actually get you connected with things that can help,” said Julia Butler-Mayes, director of university academic advising services.

For example, if you are struggling in a specific class, your advisor can direct you to tutoring and other resources provided by UGA’s Division of Academic Enhancement. Advisors can also connect you with resume help, extracurricular activity suggestions, and financial aid or scholarship resources.

Explore Course Selections

In addition to talking to your advisor, you can also search for specific courses you want to take next semester on your own. The UGA Bulletin is an online catalog of all courses offered each semester.

Each course has a paragraph description that allows you to get a general idea of the class. Many also include a syllabus.

Tip 2: Look over example syllabi for each course

“A lot of faculty have a sample syllabus uploaded that you can look at and get a sense of what your assignments would look like with this specific professor if you took this class,” Butler-Mayes said.

For instance, sample syllabi may show one professor who assigns multiple essay assignments while another professor uses only tests to assess your performance in their class. Using this information, you can decide which class works best for you.

Plan Your Schedule

Once you have an idea of the courses you want to take, use the new Plan Ahead tool added to the UGA Athena website in fall 2021. This tool allows you to create a tentative schedule for spring semester.

Based on the class time, location, and professor, you can select the specific course section that works best and save it to your schedule plan.

“When you get into Athena to register, instead of having to look all those up again, you just click a button and it will – if there are seats open – automatically register you for the classes that you saved. So it can save you time,” Butler-Mayes said.

Tip 3: Make sure to plan out enough time between classes to get to your next one

Students have 20 minutes between classes to walk or catch a bus to their next class. Depending on the distance, however, you may have to rush to make it to your next class. For example, if your first class is in Park Hall on North Campus but your second class is in the Ramsey Student Center, it might take longer than 20 minutes to get there. 

Clear Registration Holds

Tip 4: Don’t wait till the last minute to clear your registration holds

Before students can register for classes, they must clear their registration holds. Advisors clear the advising hold once you attend your advising appointment. Other holds that need to be cleared include a student accounts acknowledgment hold and a contact information hold.

It’s “super easy to take care of but if you don’t realize that you haven’t cleared [a hold], you’re going to try and register and it’s not going to let you,” Butler-Mayes said.

Register for Classes

Spots in classes fill up quickly so register for classes as soon as you’re able. UGA will send an email with your registration time and date.

“It’s just reserving a spot for you,” Butler-Mayes said. “If you think you might want to take something, you could go ahead and lock it in.”

Tip 5: It’s ok if you don’t get the exact classes you want during registration

 “Don’t be too disappointed if you can’t get the exact perfect schedule immediately,” Butler-Mayes said. “Just be prepared to keep looking. Most students are able to get into the courses they really need before the end of drop add.”

While registering for spring classes, you can also begin registering for summer classes. There are five different terms of summer classes that run from mid-May through early August. If you’re taking a lighter load of only 13 hours in the spring, consider signing up for a May term course to stay on track for graduation.

“If your summer plans change, just remember to adjust your summer schedule in Athena before the course starts,” she said.

Writer: Megan Fitzgerald, Public Relations Student Assistant  for OVPI