During high school, there are plenty of recurring events each year. From homecoming and prom, to midterms and finals, they are almost acts of tradition. One aspect of high school that tends to be a headache each year is scheduling classes.
Going into freshman year, scheduling is relatively simple. You are asked what classes you would like to take, and those scheduling tell you they will try their best to give you what you request. However, the following years are not this way. Rather than just asking you to choose classes, you must also decide what period you want to take each class. At first, this sounds like a privilege until you realize just how complex putting together a complete schedule is.
Each class is only offered certain periods of each day. Taking that into consideration, as well as our school's classes alternating every other day, fitting in all of the classes you want can be more difficult than you would think. The first step is typically to determine the classes you are required to take and when you would like to take them. Students must decide if they would like to take regular classes, honors classes, Advanced Placement classes, or dual enrollment classes. The decision is extremely important, as it will impact the rest of a student's future, resulting in quite a bit of pressure riding on class choice.
Once you have planned out all of your core classes like English, math, science and history classes, the most difficult aspect of scheduling arrives - electives. In theory, deciding your electives should be the easiest part of scheduling. However, this is usually not the case.
Electives are most students' favorite classes. They are the classes that you were not forced to take, but choose based on your interests. Unfortunately, these are also the classes that are the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to prioritizing your schedule. They are usually offered very few periods of the day, leaving students trying to squeeze them into their schedules wherever they can. This also means that sometimes a student's preferred electives may not fit into their schedule at all.
Once students manage to plan their ideal schedule, the most difficult part is over. The responsibility is then taken off the students, as their role in scheduling is complete. The next piece is simply waiting until schedules are sent out towards the end of the summer. Students can only hope that their schedule looks like the one that they had initially submitted. Scheduling priority depends on grade level, meaning that seniors are scheduled before juniors, juniors before sophomores, and so on. This means that a class may be filled entirely before a student's scheduling request is even given a second glance.
Not knowing if you are going to get the classes you requested can be stressful. If even one period of a class you requested gets filled up, it can throw your entire schedule off. In turn, this may mean you lose several classes you want from just one not working out. However, if a student plans carefully with this in mind, they should end up with a schedule very close to their ideal one.
Thankfully, my schedule was relatively easy to plan this year. As I do not have to take a math class this upcoming year, my schedule was freed up quite a bit. With a bit of luck and careful planning, my junior year schedule will come out pretty close to perfect!