Posts Tagged ‘college courses’
When deciding on a major, it is important to first assess what you are interested in and what careers are available for someone with your intended skill set. You will have many opportunities to put your studies to work in classes, jobs, and internships throughout college, which will also help you narrow down your field of study to something that you will genuinely enjoy doing after you graduate. As a freshman, if you find yourself struggling to pick a major, don’t worry! There’s still time to figure it out, and the great thing about college is that it’s pretty easy to change your major later on if you feel you may be better suited to study something else.
What Do You Like?
An easy way to preliminarily decide what you want to major in is to think about what you liked learning in high school. There are different paths available in every major from computer science to nutrition to art and design, and understanding where your general academic interests lie is a great way to narrow down the field. Once you decide what subject you’d like to explore, the major requirements you need to take will help you figure out which specific aspects of the subject most appeals to you.
Make the Most of General Requirements
Throughout college, you will need to take certain classes to fill university-wide requirements. Generally, students will need to take a combination of a foreign language, an introduction to science, a low-level math class, and one or two college writing classes in order to graduate. Though you may initially see these classes as an undesirable addition to your course load, changing your attitude and seeing them as a way to explore different majors can help you find a subject you may be drawn to that you weren’t aware of before. It is very common for students to change majors after declaring, or pick up a minor they would have never considered upon entering school. Look through the course guide and pick classes that meet requirements and afford you the opportunity to explore new interests.
Use Your Resources
College syllabi and older upperclassmen can be great resources when choosing on a major. Many professors will post required readings and assignments with the course description, allowing you to see what the workload will be like before you sign up for the class. As you decide what classes to take, explore the syllabi and see if the coursework is something that interests you. If you find yourself dreading most of the work you will have during the semester, it may be a good idea to consider looking for different tracks of study within your field, or changing your major altogether. Another great resource that is available is the peer-advising office, where you can get advice and talk to upperclassmen in your major about what they enjoy most and least about the program.
As a freshman, you’re at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to registering for classes. Though a number of seats are usually reserved for freshmen students, you may find that all of the classes you were planning on taking are full by the time it’s your turn to register. If this happens, don’t panic—there are ways you can get into the class after the initial registration period.
Have A Back Up Plan
Most likely you will only be taking four or five classes a semester, but when preparing for registration, it is important to have back up options in case your first-choice classes are full. Take the time to look through the entire course guide and note the classes you’d be interested in taking—anywhere from six to ten back up classes will be sufficient. Look at the assignments, readings, exam schedule, and meeting time of each course to make sure they would be a good fit with your other options—you don’t want to burn out during your first year.
Join the Waitlist
For classes with a waitlist available, adding your name will give you a realistic indication of how likely it is that a seat will open up for you. If you’re anywhere from 1-10 on a waitlist for a lecture, it is likely that enough students will drop the class and allow you to register. On the other hand if you have a low number, like somewhere in the 20s or 30s, you don’t want to get your hopes up—it is unlikely that that many students will drop the course.
After the initial round of registration has ended, students continually drop and add classes at the beginning of the semester. If the classes you’re interested in do not have a waitlist available, continually checking to see if spaces have opened up is your best chance of getting into the classes you want to take.
Email the Professor
If you have a connection to the professor teaching a course you want to take, sending an email detailing your interest and asking for an override may get you the extra push you need to enroll in the class. Professors can sometimes issue special permission to register, and will give these to students they feel will be an excellent addition to the course. It doesn’t work in every case, but there’s no reason not to try.
One of the best parts about being a college student is undoubtedly the amount of control you have over your schedule. Besides choosing for yourself what you’ll do with your time, you get to take charge of your course schedule. While you’ll still be required to take a certain amount of science, history, English, and math as part of your core coursework, and while there are some courses in your major you won’t be able to avoid, when you take these classes are largely up to you! Before you jump at the opportunity to start your days at noon, check out these guidelines that will help you create a winning course schedule!
If You’re Undecided
If you haven’t chosen a major yet, you might want to spend your first semester or two plowing through your core coursework. With classes in multiple fields, you might be able to get a better idea on what it is you’ll want to further pursue. In addition, with your core coursework out of the way, you’ll be able to breeze through your major coursework without being held up by all those other 100 level classes you put off. This can increase your chances of graduating on time.
If you have some idea on what you’ll be majoring in, but just aren’t sure specifically what path to take, you can start taking some of your major’s general courses that will be required by everyone perusing that field. For example, if you’re not sure if you want to be a state trooper or a crime scene investigator, a 100 level criminal justice class is probably required for both.
If You’ve Chosen a Major
Instead of planning your schedule for this semester, try to plan for all of college. What courses will you need to take and when? You don’t want to put off a class that’s uninteresting, only to later find out it’s a prerequisite for every class you’ll need to take your sophomore year.
Don’t take too many classes that are similar in nature or workload. While biology may be your passion, four biology lectures with four labs due every Friday can get both confusing and exhausting.
Make note of the time you have between classes. Is there time to get lunch? Do you have chunks of time in your schedule you could use for group projects or papers? You don’t want to leave yourself with just enough time to do nothing everyday!
If the same class is taught by multiple professors, you may want to do some research. Read up on the backgrounds of your professors, and decide which you think will have more to offer. Ask other students who have taken the class. What do upperclassmen have to recommend? While one friend may advise you to avoid a professor based on the intense workload, an upperclassman may report that if they hadn’t had that professor, they wouldn’t have done so well in their other classes.
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