Lesson 23: Create a Mock College Schedule As a Student with a Visual Impairment
One of the main differences between high school and college or career school is that the responsibility of managing your time becomes yours. In high school, teachers and guidance counselors plan and create a daily class schedule for you to follow. Your parents also have input and may even control how you spend your time before, during, and after school. When you begin college or career school as a student with a visual impairment, you will have more unstructured time than you have ever had. Having the freedom to plan your own schedule is one of the many exciting aspects of moving into adulthood as a college or career school student. As a student who is visually impaired, you will need to organize your time and focus on setting priorities to accomplish important tasks first, along with scheduling time for other aspects of life such as socializing, resting, etc.
Prior to signing up for classes in college or career school, a course catalog will be available for you to review either online or in print. The day of the week the course is scheduled, the time, location, and a brief description of the course are provided in the guide. The description will also indicate whether a prerequisite class is required or if a lab accompanies the course. Courses scheduled on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday generally meet for one hour, and courses offered on Tuesday and Thursday typically meet for one and a half hours. Some classes meet only once per week, sometimes in the evening or on Saturdays. One course is typically three credit hours, and a full load of courses is 12 credit hours or four courses.
Different windows of time are assigned for students to register for classes according to their enrollment status (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior). New college students are invited to attend an orientation on campus to help them through the process of signing up for classes the first time, which may include taking placement exams, and typically early registration is also available for these students to register for classes. As a student who is visually impaired, it will be to your benefit to take advantage of this opportunity so you can get the classes you want on the days you prefer. If you need advice about building your schedule, an academic advisor can assist you with your questions. You may also be able to get help with choosing classes and registering through the Office for Students with Disabilities.
When you create your college or career school schedule, the following are some important tips for you to consider as a visually impaired student:
- Choose an alternate date and time for each course you select in case your first choice for the course you want to take closes (fills up) before you register.
- If you are not a morning person, you may want to consider taking courses offered in the afternoon or evening. If you are a morning person, the early class times may appeal to you.
- Pay close attention to the stop and start time of each class to be sure you have enough time to get from one class to the next class on time. Unlike high school where all your classes were in one building, your college classes will be in different buildings on campus, and some may be in locations that require you to walk long distances.
- Review the college’s procedures for dropping and adding a course. The deadlines are firm, and if you decide to cancel a course, you will need to do so before the deadline, or you will be charged or penalized for taking but not completing the course.
- Treat college like it’s your full-time job. Whether you’re studying or meeting with your hired reader or professors, putting in an eight-hour day will help you manage your time and stay productive as a college or career school student with vision loss.
- Take into consideration whether you are going to live on or off campus and your method of transportation as a student who is blind or visually impaired. If you live off campus and will be using the public bus system to get to and from campus, make sure the bus is available during all of the scheduled course times you select.
Create an electronic mock college schedule using the following information:
You are registered for the following classes:
Chemistry 107, meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Turner Building, Room 307
Medieval English Literature, meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the J.K. Moore Building, Room 24
Intro to Dance Composition, meets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the J.K. Moore Building, Room 101
Economics 101, meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Morris Building, Room 219
You live on campus in a dormitory.
The Turner Building is located beside your dorm.
The J.K. Moore Building is a 15-minute walk across campus and is located beside the library and the Student Union, which has restaurants.
The Morris Building is located beside the J.K. Moore Building.
Incorporate time for the following into your schedule:
Running errands (grocery store, pharmacy, etc.)
Meeting with your live reader for three hours a week
Participating in one campus organization that meets twice a month for two hours
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Appointments such as dental, hair cut, doctor
Social activities such as going to the movies
Read pages 119 through 129 of Chapter 4 in College Bound, A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments, 2nd Edition, by Ellen Trief.
Take notes of pertinent information and answer the following questions:
Why is it particularly important for you as a student who is blind or visually impaired to manage your time efficiently in college or career school?
What is a “fixed schedule?”
When you create a “to do list,” how should you order your list?
In addition to having a daily list of priorities, what else should you use to keep track of your assignments and activities during the year?
What information is typically included by professors in a course syllabus?