Having trouble figuring out which classes to take next semester? Feeling overwhelmed by all the options? Having an effective way of searching for classes can take the stress off of planning.
Here’s a foolproof way to plan your perfect schedule. Using a variety of online resources, you will be able to weed out the worst classes and unfavorable professors before you even step into the lecture hall.
Step one: Know what resources are available to you
Make sure you have the course planning website and list of general education and major requirements open on your computer before you start. You’ll want to have Barnard’s Foundations list or Columbia’s Global Core list and science reqs open, as well as the Columbia course directory, and CULPA. Having these resources open simultaneously will help you view everything at once and streamline the process.
Step two: See where you stand on your course requirements
Take a look at your academic profile and see which requirements you still need to fulfill. For Barnard, you go to myBarnard, select “Academic Planning” on the home page, and then “My Progress” (make sure you’re not on Safari though—it doesn’t work). At Columbia, you go to Vergil, log in, and click My DAR on the top right. Everything you’ve taken (whether for your major requirements or for the Core) will be listed there.
When you’ve got this all sorted out, check out the list of classes required for your major and for your gen ed requirements and pick a few that sound interesting.
Step three: Find the courses you want on the course directory
The course directory will tell you the time and instructor of each course. This is the time to decide whether or not you can actually wake up for an 8:40 a.m. class.
Another thing to note is the location of each class. While most classes on the directory currently don’t have locations listed, this will be important come the fall when you realize you have 10 minutes to get from Knox to Hamilton.
Step four: CULPA saves the day
Now that you know the times of each class, read some professor reviews on CULPA. In addition to letting you know whether previous students have liked your potential future professors, CULPA can also clue you in to how difficult or easy each class is going to be, how rigorous the workload is, and what kind of assignments or quizzes you might expect.
If you’re really intent on finding professors that grade easy, you can also check out EZACU, which will tell you the A-ranges for a ton of classes and professors. This might be a deciding factor if you’re looking to just get a requirement or two out of the way, but remember: Sometimes the best classes aren’t those that are the easiest.
Step five: Enter your chosen courses into your school's planning system
It’s finally time to add your courses to your schedule. After you add all your potential classes, you can see what your week is going to look like for the coming semester.
While you’re browsing for classes, it’s also entirely possible that you’ll add more classes to your schedule than you’ll actually end up taking. This will make your planned schedule look a bit hectic, but don’t worry about that just yet. You can attend the first few classes to see which ones you like and which ones you want to drop. Having lots of options is always a good idea.
In the same vein, however, make sure you’re not overloading yourself. Set yourself a credit limit and stick to it—your future self will thank you.
Isabella Monaco is Spectrum’s associate editor and a Barnard first-year. She’s trying her best to have no classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Wish her luck at email@example.com.