The main reason you’re in school is to earn your degree, so picking the right courses at the right time and in the right order, is critical to your success.
To help you choose your courses, talk to your adviser. No matter how big or small your school is; you should have an adviser who helps make sure you are on track to earning your degree. Check in with them, no matter how sure you are about your choices. Not only does your adviser most likely need to sign off on your selections, but they can also help alert you to things you may not even have considered.
Make sure to balance your schedule and try not to set yourself up for failure by thinking you can handle more courses than you usually take. Make sure your schedule has varying levels of difficulty. If possible, vary subject matters so that you aren’t using one part of your brain all day and choose courses with varying due dates for major projects and exams. When you choose courses, think about your learning style. If, for example, you learn better in the morning, you may want to schedule your more difficult courses for earlier and save electives for the afternoon or evening. See what options you have within a department or course section and pick something that matches best with your learning style.
Do you know of a professor in your department that you have heard has a great teaching style? See if you can take a course with them this semester, or if it would be better to wait until a later time. If you’ve found a professor with whom you intellectually click, taking another class with them can help you get to know them better and may lead to other things like research opportunities and letters of recommendation. If you’re unfamiliar with professors on campus but know that you learn best from a professor’s particular teaching style, such as one who engages a class instead of one who only lectures, ask around and see what experience other students have had with various professors and their teaching styles.
Finally, when choosing classes, consider your work schedule and other commitments. If you know that you will need to have an on-campus job or need to do an internship for your major consider taking a class in the evenings. Planning around your commitments can help to reduce your stress level once the semester is well underway.