4-Year Undergrad Course Schedule Planner

Supplemental Content - 4-Year Undergrad Course Schedule Planner

This section includes a set of 4-Year Undergrad Course Planning and Tracking tool to help you ensure that you have a plan to meet all of your undergraduate college/university requirements in four years. The downloadable tools follow the following step by step instructions:

How to Develop a Plan to Graduate in 4 Years

Perhaps the most important long term plan any college student needs to create, track, and refine is a 4-year course schedule. Forgetting about a prerequisite or missing a gen-ed requirement can be extremely costly in terms of both time and money. Of course, any 4-year plan needs to be flexible and account for both scheduling challenges and possible changes or additions to your major(s) and minor(s).

Step 1 - Identify Your Specific Graduation Requirements

This step allows you to identify each category of requirements that are specific to your unique situation. Typically, this would include gen-ed requirements as well as requirements for your major. If you are double majoring or including one or more minors, you would also identify those additional requirements as part of Step 1.

Step 2 - Identify Potential Courses To Satisfy Requirements

This step allows you to individually focus on each requirement category and identify both required and elective courses that will satisfy the identified requirements. It’s important to identify more than the minimum number of elective courses during this step. You will not need to take more than the required number of elective courses, but when trying to construct a semester specific schedule, it’s important to have flexibility. Additionally, you may find that some elective courses satisfy requirements for more than one category (e.g. the course meets requirements for 2 different majors) so you may discover that some elective classes are better than others.

Additionally, when identifying each course, it is critical to note any prerequisites (courses that you need to have already completed before taking a class) or co-requisites (courses that you need to take at the same time). This information will force a specific sequence for classes that you are interested in taking.

Also pay particular attention to any courses that have limited availability. For example, some courses are only offered during the Fall semester. This too becomes critical information in planning your 4-year schedule.

Step 3 - Construct Tentative 4-Year Plan

With all the required and elective courses that you are interested in taking identified for each requirement category, begin to slot courses into specific semesters. Pay particular attention to courses that are prerequisites for other classes to make sure you are sequencing them correctly. And, of course, be careful to schedule limited availability classes only during the semesters for which they are offered.

For each semester, identify the minimum number of credits that you expect to take in order to graduate on schedule. If your major requires 120 overall credits, then you need to average 15 credits per semester (120 / 8). However, if you are double majoring or your major has a higher credit requirement, you may need to average more credits per semester or consider winter or summer classes.

For each semester, due to prerequisite sequencing, you will likely identify several classes that you must take during that semester to stay on track. Be sure to identify those courses so that when building a semester specific schedule, you know where you do and do not have flexibility in constructing your schedule.

Once you have identified your must take classes, be sure to note the number of optional classes you will also need to take to stay on track. For example, if you have determined that you need to take at least 15 credits for the semester and you have two 3-credit classes identified as must take, then you need at least nine additional credits to stay on track (15 – (2 * 3) = 9). Continuing the example, you may have identified six optional 3-credit classes, so you know you will need to schedule at least three of the remaining six classes when you build a semester specific schedule.

Step 4 - Build Semester Specific Schedule(s)

For each semester, well in advance of your scheduled registration date, construct one or more tentative schedules.

Start with the courses you identified as must take for the semester and fill in with the required number of optional courses.

Since during the actual registration process, classes may already be filled up, provide yourself flexibility by considering schedules with multiple optional courses and with your must take classes at different times.

When creating multiple tentative schedules, include a preference indication starting with “1” for your highest preference schedule. This will serve as a reminder during the actual registration process for which schedule to try to use first.

Step 5 - Register for Classes and Adjust Overall Plan If Necessary

At your earliest scheduled time, attempt to register for your classes in priority order.

If you can’t register for a complete schedule, try combining courses from 2 or more of your tentative schedules.

If still having issues, try contacting your advisor or a specific professor to get special permission for a closed course override.

If unable to adjust the current semester, review the 4-year plan and consider winter break or summer classes to stay on track.

Return to Steps 2 and 3 and mark the appropriate courses as scheduled.

Step 6 - Track Course Completions and Refine Plan As Needed

At the end of each semester, after successfully completing each class with the grade needed to satisfy each graduation requirement, return to steps 2 and 3 and mark the appropriate courses as completed.

Review overall progress and adjust step 3 as necessary.

Complete Comprehensive 4-Year Course Planning and Tracking Tool

This downloadable provides a complete 6 step planning tool to help you create a 4-year schedule that will meet all of your graduation course requirements.

Front Page View

Back Page View

Simple 1-Page 4-Year Course View Worksheet

This downloadable provides an overall summary for a 4-year plan and can also be used as simple worksheet if you want to jump straight to the final answer.

Front Page View

Back Page View

Total Number of Pages: 1 page

Download PDF for single sided printing

Extra Step 3 - Construct a Tentative 4-Year Plan Worksheet

This downloadable provides extra copies of Step 3 to allow you to explore course and schedule planning for different combinations of majors and minors.

Front Page View

Back Page View

Extra Step 4 - Building Semester Specific Schedule Worksheets

This downloadable provides extra copies of Step 4 and allows you to create schedule options each semester while planning for course registration.

Front Page View

Back Page View

Typical Week at a Glance 1-Pager

This downloadable provides a copy of the same Typical Week at a Glance included at the start of each semester in the Printed METIS Planner. This version is ideal for hanging the current semester’s schedule on your wall above your desk.

Typical Week - Monday to Sunday Format

Typical Week - Sunday to Saturday Format

Total Number of Pages: 1 page

Download PDF for single sided printing

Total Number of Pages: 1 page

Download PDF for single sided printing

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