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It can be stressful transitioning from high school to college, let alone having to construct a four-year plan mapping out your years ahead. It can be even harder if you are undecided and don’t know what classes you are supposed to take. Hopefully, by the end of your first semester of your first year in college, you’ll have an idea of where your interests lie. You should then set out to plan the rest of your seven semesters to make sure you stay on track. Here are a few tips and pointers to get you started:

1.Write out all your required classes.


Make a list of all the courses needed to graduate based on the requirements of your college/ university. This should include any language classes, engaged learning classes, intensive writing courses, core curriculum, etc. Next, include all the courses needed for your chosen major(s) and/or minor(s).

2. Separate pre-requisites and co-requisites. 


A pre-requisite is a required class before taking another class. A co-requisite is a required class that must be taken with another class. For example, in some cases, pre-calc is needed to be completed in order to take chemistry. That makes it a pre-requisite. On the other hand, calc needs to be taken with chemistry. That makes it a co-requisite. Be sure to separate these classes on your list so you know what you need to take in order to proceed.

3. Count the credits.


Most universities only allow a maximum of 18 credits per semester. Keeping in mind the number of credits needed to graduate from your individual college/ university, count the number of credits your classes add up to. If you are falling short, you may need to add more classes based on wherever your interests lie; choose whatever. If your major requires more credits that can be taken per semester, you may need to take some classes over the summer.

4. Plan it out. 


Make a plan as to when you want to take your classes for each fall and spring semester while you’re in college. Keep the requisites in mind and pair up as you like. Remember to fit in all your graduation and degree requirements and credits so you are able to finish in four years.  During this time, plan out any summer or J-term classes if needed.

5. See an advisor or counselor.


After you are done constructing your four-year plan, see your college counselor to make sure you are on the right track and everything looks good. He/ she might tell you about any requirements you may have missed.

Remember that your four-year plan is sure to change based on the availability of classes and your enrollment time. You may need to make some adjustments to your plan from time to time, but at least you will have a strong stance on where you lie and where you are headed.



Khadija Mansoor

Hi! My name's Khadija and I'm a freshman at Loyola University Chicago majoring in psychology. I hope my articles are able to help you learn a few tips and pointers on how to survive college life.

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