How to Arrange your Class Schedule

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Your enrollment appointment to register for your classes is nearing. You've seen your GE and/or Major Advisor to determine which classes to take. You have a list of classes in front of you. Just how are you supposed to efficiently create your class schedule for next semester? Here are some tried and true suggestions on how to build your class schedule. This guide can help you spend less time configuring your weekly class schedule for next semester. Also see the registration readiness handout [PDF] provided at Registration Readiness Workshops for first semester Freshmen.

Please note: This information is not meant to replace an advising appointment. This information should be used after meeting with your advisor(s) to determine which classes to take.


Just like writing an essay for a class, it is best to do some preparation before registering for the classes you have chosen to take next semester. Depending on your major and class level, it may be difficult for you to find openings in the classes you need to take. We suggest choosing back up courses with your advisor(s) that you can take in case you have to waitlist a class you want to get into. Once you have a list of classes, please consider the following questions to prioritize your scheduling:

  • Are you a student taking remedial coursework? If so, remedial classes are your TOP priority, so choose those classes first. Remember, it is recommended you take no more than 12 units total during semesters when you take remedial coursework, and that you balance your classes well.
  • Do you have time blocked out for work or other commitments for next semester? Make sure to note any times you need to block out because of a rigid work schedule, commuting or other time commitments during the semester. Use the weekly schedule worksheets below to keep track of your schedule. Remember to block out times for studying - plan for 2 hours of study out of class for every hour in class.
  • Are any of the classes on your list ONLY offered next semester? Some courses are part of a series that only starts each fall, some require prerequisites, and others are only offered in the spring or fall. Choose those classes next.
  • How many sections does each class have? Some have only one section to choose from, while others may have upwards of 10 sections. Schedule those with only one section next.
  • Does the class have a lab or seminar component? Some classes have a lecture, lab and seminar. Make sure to sign up for all of them.
  • How long does it take you to get to school or to park? Keep your commute and parking time in mind when scheduling the times of your classes.
  • How close are the classes to one another? When choosing classes that have little time between them, it is important to make sure they are not across campus from each other. You may cause yourself extra stress by running across campus or arriving late to class. Keep in mind that your brain needs to rest and absorb the information it has just received after each class.
  • How busy is your life? If you work and have family responsibilities, you may need to limit your enrollment to 12 units or less.
  • At what time of day are you most alert and ready to learn? If you are a "morning person", consider scheduling morning classes. If you are not a morning person, you may not be fully awake during 8AM classes, and you may develop a tendency to miss class - take afternoon or evening classes.
  • How difficult are certain classes for you? If you plan to take subjects which have been difficult for you in the past, you may want to limit your classes to accommodate extra study time.

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Building your Schedule

With the previous questions in mind, and a priority of classes to schedule, you are ready to start building your class schedule. You may want to start this process a week or two in advance of your enrollment appointment.

  • Start by using the schedule of classes ( website links below) to look up your top priority classes first, and note the times when they are offered.
  • You may want to keep a Word document or spreadsheet open to jot down when each class is offered while in the process of arranging your classes - it will save you having to search for the same class multiple times (especially if the course is full when you register). Also make note of the five digit code you will use to register for the class, and the location of the class.
  • Pick a time that works with your previous commitments, then search for the times the next highest class in your priority list is offered.
  • Repeat this process, rearranging your schedule as conflicts arise.
  • Remember, you can add and drop your classes online freely until the week before classes begin. However, do not procrastinate, or else your desired classes may close before you enroll!

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General Schedule Creation Tips

  • Register for your classes when your enrollment appointment begins. Waiting late in the priority registration period to register for your classes means having fewer class selection options.
  • Don't wait until the day of your enrollment appointment to create a schedule. Planning ahead can decrease the stress of registering for classes.
  • Leave some time between classes to let your brain rest. Scheduling all your classes back to back can cause unnecessary stress, and you may be less likely to retain the information you have taken in.
  • It is risky to waitlist all your classes. Before waitlisting your classes, check to see if there are any other sections that are still open, and try to register for those if they fit in your schedule. Keep in mind your position on the waitlist - you are more likely to get into a class in which you are number 1 on the waitlist, than number 23 on the waitlist.
  • If you do not want a waitlisted class anymore, trash it! Keep checking back on your waitlisted classes to see whether you were added. If you were added to a class that you didn't want anymore, it is your responsibility to drop the class before the drop deadline.
  • ALWAYS check your schedule the day before classes begin to be sure you are in what you planned for.
  • Make sure you pay for your classes on time, or else you may be dropped from your classes!

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Websites to Utilize

  • Use the "Class Search" option in your MySJSU account.
  • Schedule of Classes - This schedule will tell you how many openings are left in a class, but the information is not as up to date as the previous link. Make sure you click on the appropriate semester.
  • CMS Help Desk - Enrollment Help - Guides on how to enroll in and drop courses.
  • Waitlisting - Information about the waitlisting process at SJSU is in the Policies section under Schedules.

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Helpful Worksheets

  • Weekly Class Schedule [PDF] - Use this sheet to enter your classes/work/other commitments into a weekly schedule so you know where you're supposed to be when you're supposed to be there! Use this PDF to print out and write on.
  • Weekly Class Schedule [Excel] - (see above) Use MS Excel to type in your schedule and then print.
  • Four Semester Course Planner [Form-fillable PDF] - Use this PDF to type in the classes you plan to take in your next four semesters. Print this form and bring it to your next advising appointment!
  • Student GE Planning Worksheet [Word Doc] - Use this Word Document to type in the classes you've taken or plan to take to complete graduation requirements. Print this form and bring it to your next advising appointment!
  • Student GE Planning Worksheet [PDF] - Print this PDF and write in the classes you've taken or plan to take to complete graduation requirements. Bring this form to your next advising appointment!
  • For more information, view the registration readiness handout [PDF] provided at Registration Readiness Workshops for first semester Freshmen.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do you do when you can't get into a class?

First, sign up for another section of the class (if it exists and fits into your schedule). Then, sign up for the waitlist - keep checking back on your class schedule to see if you have been moved into the class. Make sure you have a backup class to sign up for just in case you cannot get into the waitlisted course.

  • Why was I taken off the waitlist a week before classes start?

Please read more about the waitlist process in the Policies section under "Schedules". The waitlists close at the end of Advanced Registration, and you must attend the first day of classes to see if the professor will give you an add code.

  • I have finished all my lower division GE courses and lower division major courses, but I do not yet have 60 units (upper division standing). What can I take?

Double check with an advisor to make sure you have finished all your lower division coursework (or will have finished it all at the end of next semester). If you truly have no more required classes to take, consider adding a minor. You may also fill out a petition (available at the Office of Undergraduate Studies or the Academic Advising & Retention Services) to be able to take upper division courses under certain LIMITED circumstances. This petition must be returned to the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

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