Now that I’m pretty much settled into college, I have had time to reflect on my classes and the process for choosing them. When I was picking my classes, I didn’t have an advisor (the way my program works is that the person that teachers my New Student Seminar becomes my advisor), so I was relying on one email I received just days before the selection process began. Now that I’ve gone through it, I want to help you pick classes for the spring semester, and, for those of you starting next year, your first semester! Here are my four tips to picking your classes:
Have backups (and backups for your backups).
Most schools allow will you to browse the course selection before the registration process starts. When doing this, map out your courses and the times/locations for each. Since almost every student will be registering at the same time, it’s likely to get shut out of a class (I only got into two of the original five classes I planned to take). Make a backup list for each class – whether it be for a different section or a different course all together – so you’re not frantically searching for an alternative and thus getting shut out of more classes. If you know that your backup is a popular class, make a second backup, just in case.
Research your potential professors.
I cannot stress this enough. Websites like Rate My Professors are extremely helpful to get an insider’s knowledge of the people who will be teaching you (and grading you) during the upcoming semester. I made sure to do this for all of my professors (and backup professors), and I can honestly say that I enjoy each and every one of them. My friends who didn’t do their research, on the other hand, aren’t as happy as I am. If the teacher for the course isn’t listed, hope for the best!
Take interesting electives.
By this, I mean to consider classes outside (far outside) of your major. As of right now, I am a communications major, but I’m taking Psychology of Human Learning as my elective. While it isn’t terribly relevant to my major, I still find it fascinating, and with many real-world applications. One of the best things about college is being able to explore new areas and see what your interests are (or aren’t). Your schedule will be filled with courses that are specific to one or two areas – take a break from them every once in a while!
Double- and triple-check your school’s Advanced Placement policy.
This is especially important for freshmen who usually do not have a full grip on what they are doing when choosing classes. By checking the AP policy before course registration opens, you will be able to see which classes you will possibly be exempt from. For example, even though my school’s core program requires me to take classes in eight different areas, I was able to place out of a majority of them. Had I not checked the AP policy beforehand, I could possibly be taking a course that was just a waste of my time.
Best of luck this semester! When it comes time to register for next semester… may the odds be ever in your favor.