Hey there GP,
While I, weeks ago, finished doing my timetables for my first year, my friends are still agonizing over theirs. This being because in college you must make your own timetables while before in high school you just picked the courses you had to take and the administration did the rest. However the administration also likely tended to mess up which left to missing classes you wanted or standing in line for hours waiting to tell them what was wrong. In college there is none of this nonsense. You are given a crash course in timetabling and then sent off you use the tools given to you to organize your shite yourself.
The difference is in the schools. My university has a very simple, albeit inflexible system to timetabling. You type in your course on the website and make sure you have to conflicts in your classes (ie. two classes occurring at the same time). If you do happen to have a conflict you simply cannot take one of the classes. Whereas in my friend's school (a very large university) they have endless choices, so many in fact that it becomes difficult to choose. Especially since their particular campus is very spread out. Furthermore their timetable process was mostly on paper causing them to have large charts laid out in front of them while they spent hours pouring over it.
So for all of you I'm going to give you some timetabling advice for when you have to do this job yourself.
1. Make a chart of the days of the week and times. Likely your school will provide this for you.
2. Make a list of all the courses you want to take and their respective course codes
3. On the chart will out all the classes that only have one time slot.
4. Fill out all the classes you MUST or REALLY WANT to take without worrying about the times.
5. fill out the rest of your classes in the chart without worrying about the times BUT make sure you avoid night classes at all costs
6. Once you've filled out all the courses in the timetable look back and see if you have flexibility. And switch times around. You may ask, why not just do this in the first place? Sometimes you may find it very difficult to place classes in a way so you don't have to walk up early or otherwise. By example, the friends originally tried to do their timetabling that way and 4 hours later they no longer cared where the classes went and STILL hadn't even added their electives.
7. Look at the location of each class and make sure that if you have BIO 100 at 9-10am and CHEM 100 at 10-11am that you can get from one class to the other in 10 minutes. Otherwise you may want to switch the order. Though if you are on a close knit campus it usually only takes about that time to get from point A to point B
I can't guarantee these techniques will work for you, but steps 1-5 worked very well for me. And the other steps are recommendations I am making after watching my friends struggle. But like I said, every school is different and some have more flexibility than others. My personal schedule had conflicts and the course I need for my major only had one spot that conflicted with JAPN 100, so suffice to say I won't be taking Japanese this year. Furthermore, my film course ONLY offers labs at night so I had no choice but to take a night course. So take that as you will.
The most important thing is that you get the class you want. Even if you have to wake up at 8:00am (heaven forbid...) to take it. Better than being in class at 10:00pm and coming home tired just when your friends head out to party. Let me tell you, in my opinion, early morning is ALWAYS better than late at night.
Happy timetabling (though that time is past for this year, but good for next year)
Bye bye GP!