The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Opinion | Schedules make or break the college experience

Amy Sanchez

Creating your college schedule is almost like an NFL draft. While the amount of choices seem endless compared to high school class options, choose carefully! Like picking the wrong player may affect the team’s performance, picking the wrong class or the wrong time can negatively impact your college experience.

Thankfully, as second- and third-year students, we have advice on how to build the perfect schedule.


Not too early or too late

We know exactly what you’re thinking. 

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    You just survived four years of waking up for high school, which started at 7:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. You were tired, sure, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. So when your counselor suggests taking an 8 a.m. lecture three days a week, you agree. That seems reasonable — and you can even sleep a whole half hour later than in high school! It’ll be totally fine.

    Except it’s not fine. 

    There’s no scientific explanation for it, but once you enter college, it becomes a lot harder to wake up early for class. Late-night studying, later-night partying, latest-night deep talks with your roommate — it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep as a student.

    So instead of eight in the morning, try starting your day with a 9 or even 10 a.m. time slot. Three months from now, you’ll be thanking yourself from the comfort of your lofted bed.


    Location, location, location

    The University has a sprawling campus that includes 354 buildings across 3.6 square miles in the main University District. It’s a beautiful area, and having such a large campus creates an immersive college experience.

    But when you realize it’s a 20-minute walk from the Siebel Center for Design to your next class at the Siebel Center for Computer Science, you might be a little less grateful for the scenic stroll. Passing periods are only 10 minutes here, which means you’ll be really pressed for time if you don’t pay attention to where your classes are held in relation to each other. 

    As you progress through your semesters, your classes will likely be less spread-out — for example, many business classes are held in the Business Instructional Facility, and many engineering classes are held on the Bardeen and North Quads. 

    But general education courses are free reign, so either give yourself more time in between classes, make sure the walk is doable in 10 minutes or consider bringing a bike to cut down your travel time.


    Make Rate My Professors your new best friend

    Professors can make or break your schedule just as much as the times you take your classes. Nothing is worse than struggling all semester in a class, and then hearing your friend talk about how great it was with the other lecturer.

    Luckily, there are several ways to get an idea of which professor is right for you. Most people have heard of a website called Rate My Professors, which allows students to do exactly what the title implies. Take the responses with grain of salt, but sometimes there’s good information to be found on the website.

    If you’re looking for a more statistical approach to your professor choice, Wade Fagen-Ulmscneider of the Computer Science department created a GPA visualization that’s very popular among students. It uses grade data to show the distribution of grades given by different instructors for the same course. Again, it’s not the be-all-end-all of instructors, but I recommend looking at it each semester before registration. 

    If all else fails, it’s always worth a try to look up the professor’s name on the UIUC Reddit page. There, you will find students’ unfiltered opinions and probably some trolling.

    Researching specific classes can also help you make decisions about what classes to take which semester. Always have a balance of “chill” classes and “all-hands-on-deck” classes. 


    Get in the groove

    Figure out based on your work style – does blocking your classes at the beginning of the day and then having the rest of the day to work, or spreading it out and giving yourself space to work between classes work better for you?

    While sitting in the library for 30 minutes or returning to your residence hall in between classes may sound appealing, it can also make it more challenging to be productive. 

    And the phenomenon of convincing yourself you can’t do anything during the day because you have work at 4 p.m. applies here as well. The build-up or anxiety about knowing you have something to do at a certain time might make it harder than just getting it done earlier in the day. 

    Splitting up classes equally between days when possible is also ideal. Having two or three classes every day is less exhausting than having four or five on one day and none on another. 

    If taking an extra class on another day means being done by late morning or early afternoon on Friday, it is probably worth doing that. Starting the weekend at noon on a Friday is the best feeling.


    Megan is a sophomore in Media.

    [email protected]

    Talia is a junior in Media.

    [email protected]


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    About the Contributors
    Megan Harding, Assistant Opinions Editor
    Hi! My name is Megan and I’m a freshman studying journalism. I joined the DI a couple of months into my first semester here, and specifically chose the opinions section since it is so different from the news or feature stories I am typically writing for classes. I love reading and contributing to the unique perspectives columns bring to the publication. When I am not writing for the DI or my classes, I enjoy listening to 2000s throwback music, driving around historic neighborhoods and pretending I live there and watching Dance Moms.
    Talia Duffy, Assistant Opinions Editor
    Hey guys! My name is Talia and I’m a sophomore majoring in statistics and journalism. I joined Opinions at The Daily Illini in November 2021, which was a great decision because now I have an excuse to write about whatever I want and put it somewhere besides my Google Drive. Besides that, you’ll probably find me watching Star Wars, reading historical fiction novels, or researching random things on Wikipedia. Reach me at 
    Amy Sanchez, Graphics Editor