Getting the most out of your time is important to every college student, whether you’re an athlete, an honors student, a part time student  or someone taking on more credits than imaginable.  As with many things in life, the mantra, “work hard, play hard” works well in the college atmosphere. I hope to offer you a few tips to get the most out of your time in those four years, or whatever they may be for you.

Though I did not play a sport in college, I did work 20 hours a week and was active in many clubs and organizations. Trying to balance these commitments with class and studying, I learned a few tricks to get the most out of my time and still manage to push myself and enjoy the college experience.

One way to avoid a time crunch during your college years is to enroll in Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school. Most schools offer a variety of AP subjects, which will not only count for credits in high school towards graduation, but also offer you the chance to earn credits for college. To count for college credit, you must pass the test at the end of the course, and be sure that your school of choice will accept these credits. This can ensure you have some general education classes or Gen Eds finished before you even step foot on campus. Just be sure you know where you send the scores, your school will process them apply them to your transcript, so long as they have received the scores in the first place. This is something that is important to follow up on.college1

Despite getting some credits out of the way, scheduling classes around your extracurricular activities can still be tough with many higher-level classes only being offered at one time or only one semester during the school year.

An easy option to work around this is to take down your course load if you can. Summers are a great time to squeeze in classes you may need. You can either take shorter, more intensive courses from your university over the summer or take them from an accredited college in your hometown. I was able to knock out some Gen Eds during summer courses, allowing me to take fewer credits during my senior year.

There are also many different types of classes out there which may be easier to work into a hectic schedule. Some classes meet just once a week for a longer block of time, while there are also opportunities for independent studies. Don’t be quick to panic about classes running into your schedule, from colloquiums, to independent studies, there is many options around the usual Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes. Many schools are now offering online courses even for students who live on campus, allowing for more flexibility in scheduling.

Really researching and planning out classes and credit loads can be time consuming, but it will pay off when your schedule is able to accommodate all of your obligations and still leave time to enjoy the college life.

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