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How to Manage Your Schedule as a Student

a female student walks through a classroom while smiling

For many students, the New Year marks the start of a new semester and a new class schedule.  Make 2024 the year you set yourself up for success. Here’s how to manage your schedule as a student. 


First, many students feel pressured to take as many AP classes as possible and over-schedule themselves. If that sounds like you, take a moment to ask yourself–what would happen if my schedule was more balanced? The following five times will help you manage your schedule as a student. 


Stick to a 1:1 Ratio

Most schools say that an AP class requires one or two hours of homework per class, which adds up to 5 to 10 hours per week. Consider this carefully when signing up for AP courses. Remember that when you’re studying for your AP exams, you may also be studying for the SAT or ACT. 


To be sure you’re not overloading your schedule with AP classes, take an elective or lower intensity class for every AP course you take. For example, if you’re taking AP Biology, AP French, and AP Statistics, fill the rest of your schedule with a regular English and History class, as well as a fun elective, like art. College admission consultants recommend that you take no more than three or four AP classes a year. 


Leave Time for Emergencies

What if you get sick or have a family emergency? Build flex time into your schedule to prepare for the unknown. If you fill your schedule up to the brim, you’ll regret it if you get sick and have to stay home from school for a few days. How will you catch up when you’re already maxed out? 


If you have the opportunity to insert a free period into your class schedule, do it. You’ll thank yourself later when you need the time to catch up after being out of school, to visit a teacher if you don’t understand a topic, or if you simply need some time for a mental break. 


Think About How to Manage Your Schedule Outside of School

Colleges are looking for well-rounded students who have hobbies and passions outside of school. When building your schedule, think about how much time it will take to study for your classes and whether or not that will leave you with enough time for your hobbies and outside electives. School should not be the only important thing in your life. Make sure you leave time for clubs and time for sports, family, and friends. 


Look at the Big Picture

Think long-term when you’re making your class schedule. Look at the goals you’re attempting to achieve. How does this schedule align with your goals? Will this schedule help you get into college? Have you set yourself up for success with a manageable schedule, or are you risking overwhelm and burnout?


Everything LeadYouth does is based on positive psychology and respected research in leadership. We believe in pursuing excellence, while also encouraging our learners to build a balanced life. Learn more about our philosophy here. 


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