Registering for an entire semester's worth of college courses involves a lot of planning and careful consideration. Here are our top five tips for making sure you're happy with the classes you choose.
Choosing College Courses
College affords you many freedoms you didn't previously have in high school, like the opportunity to choose your own courses. However, more freedom tends to lead to more responsibility. Selecting classes to register for can be difficult and complicated. After all, you don't want to end up in a course that's a bad fit for your academic needs and preferences.
To make sure that you sign up for the right college courses, use these five tips.
1. Focus on Prerequisites
The most important consideration to keep in mind when choosing college classes is fulfilling all of your program requirements and prerequisites. To ensure that you graduate on time, aim to take courses required for your degree as soon as possible. These will include courses specific to your major as well as more general education requirements. Keep close track of what requirements you have fulfilled, which ones you haven't, and update your checklist every semester.
Additionally, be sure to keep prerequisites in mind. If there are classes, internships, or study abroad programs that you want to pursue in the future, check to see if you're required to fulfill any prerequisites. If so, take those courses sooner rather than later in order to give yourself the freedom to complete all of the programs and internships you're interested in.
2. Get an Outside Opinion
If keeping track of the courses you need to take in order to graduate on time sounds complicated, don't worry; thankfully, there are people whose job it is to help you complete all of your requirements. Make an appointment with a student advisor at your college, or, more specifically, your major's department, who can advise you as to which courses to take. This is a foolproof way to confirm that you're on the right track, or, if you're not, get yourself where you need to be. We highly recommend visiting your advisor at least once a semester to make sure that everything is A-Okay when it comes to completing degree requirements and graduating on time.
3. Get the Hard Classes Over With
Another guiding principle you should consider when choosing your college courses is that it's best to get your more challenging classes out of the way early on. This will allow you to get the hard stuff over with so you're not struggling with a difficult subject right before graduation, when senioritis kicks in. It's also worth noting that the earlier you take rigorous classes, the faster you'll get accustomed to their difficulty, which can help you to be more prepared for academic challenges in the future.
4. Be Realistic
Registering for classes weeks or months before you're actually going to take them can feel quite abstract, but don't forget to think about the concrete details of the schedule you're planning to take on. Be realistic with your bandwidth when it comes to considering your workload and schedule.
Consider your entire workload.
- Don't take upper-division classes that you're not ready for as a lower classman.
- Don't take an extra class you can't commit to, even if it sounds fun.
- Don't take more than one extremely rigorous class in the same semester.
Think about your schedule.
- Don't take an 8 AM course if you're not a morning person.
- Don't try to take two back-to-back classes on opposite sides of the campus if you won't have time to make it to the second lecture hall.
- Don't sign up for a Friday class if you need the day off for work.
5. Research Professors
When choosing a course, don't forget to think about the person who'll be teaching the subject at hand: the professor. This is an incredibly important factor in how much you're going to like a specific class. So be sure and research each professor, read student reviews online, and ask friends to share their opinions if they've taken a class with a particular instructor. Also, if there's a professor in your program who has won the Nobel Prize, or is well known for being a great teacher, consider finding the time to take a course with him or her.
Balancing all of these considerations might sound challenging, but it gets easier every semester. Before you know it, you'll be registering for college courses like a pro. Good luck!
For help with your college courses, check out Study.com's college-level study guides.