Since registration happened recently, a lot of people I know, myself included, have been thinking a lot about the future. Not just in terms of next semester, but also for all four years at Hope and beyond. These thoughts are why I would encourage everyone to make a four year plan. For me, a four year plan has helped ease the anxiety surrounding the future as well as help me keep track of my major and general education requirements.

How to Make Your Plan

It’s easier than it sounds. First, make a spreadsheet and divide it between fall and spring semester. Then, input the classes that you’ve already taken, you’re currently taking, and the classes you’re registered for. After that, note the classes that count for general education and/or your major. I personally do bold for general education and colored text for major, but you can do whatever you like. And with that, you have the beginnings of a four year plan!

Planning Ahead

Now that you have your four year plan started, it’s time to plan ahead. Degree Works comes in handy for this, because it will tell you which requirements you haven’t fulfilled. Since the course schedules for upcoming years aren’t posted yet, you can’t make a totally concrete plan. However, a general idea of what’s to come is still helpful. It’s easy to find out when most classes are typically taught. If you click on any given course in Degree Works, it will say it is taught in the fall, the spring, both, or as needed. This knowledge can give you an idea of when you should take certain courses. However, there are some requirements that are still up in the air. For those, I just put the requirement name in the semester I think I’ll take it in. For example, I don’t know what my second 300 level computer science elective will be, so under Fall 2025 I just have “CSCI 300-2” listed instead of an actual course. This way, I still have the time blocked off even though I don’t actually know what I’ll take.

Fulfilling Requirements

Sometimes it can be tricky getting all of your requirements fulfilled. Luckily, a four year plan helps with that. Now that you have an idea of what classes will be taught in the future, you can plan when to fulfill your general education and major requirements. One thing I would encourage is to double count classes as much as possible. A lot of beginning major classes count for general education, but maximizing this will give you more leeway in your future schedules. Additionally, if you plan on studying abroad, it’s good to be mindful of what sort of courses you want to take abroad. There are some general education classes that work really well abroad, so you want to make sure to save those.


Depending on your major and how many credits you transferred in, you may have room to take classes just for fun. Awesome! While it’s important to plan ahead, when it comes to electives, this is the area with the most room for spontaneity. Since you have your four year plan, you know what you can do, so this is the time to just enjoy yourself. 

Making a four year plan may seem daunting, but in reality, it takes away a lot of the guesswork when it comes to registration. And a four year plan isn’t something you have to do alone! You can ask for help from your advisor, other people in your major, and your friends. They’re all more than happy to help. So now that you know how to make a four year plan, do it! I promise it’s worth it.

Published by Mackenzie Niswonger

Class of 2026 Hometown: Gladstone, MI Majors: Computer Science and Philosophy

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