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5 Tips on How to Select College Classes

The transition from high school to college entails major changes in a student’s life. Many important decisions need to be made. One of the most critical tasks is to decide which courses to include in your class schedule. A number of factors should be considered when making your selections.

Beyond the general-education requirements, there is a wide array of options that may seem overwhelming at first. The list can be reduced quickly if you know what you need. Here are five tips for picking college classes.

1. Get Some Help
Filling out a class schedule, especially in your freshman year, can be daunting. You are making decisions that will affect your academic future. Advisers are available at colleges and universities to provide assistance.

These counselors help students pick courses, determine the semester-hour load they can handle, and craft their class schedules. You may want to take the bulk of your courses on certain days of the week, or spread them out. You could be a morning person, or one who is more alert in the afternoon or evening. You might have a part-time job that determines when you are available for classes.

Advisers can help you deal with other aspects of college life, as well. Take advantage of this resource.

2. Check Out Classes and Professors
You cannot find out everything about a course simply by reading about it. Visiting classrooms during the early days of your first semester can help you make decisions. If you sit in on a class that you wish you had selected, it may not be too late to add it to your schedule. You also can consider taking it the following semester. Some universities encourage this so-called “course shopping.”

Learn about the people teaching the classes. Reviews and ratings of professors at major universities are available from several online sources. You also can talk with fellow students on campus who have taken classes with professors you are considering. Beware of a small sample size, as negative comments by one or two students do not necessarily provide an accurate picture.

3. Determine the Core Requirements
General-education classes that are mandated for all students are called core requirements. Colleges and universities differ in the policies, but most require successful completion of courses in the categories of science, math, language arts and social studies. Make sure you know all the classes from which to choose, in each category. Select “introduction to” courses, and those that best relate to the major you anticipate pursuing.

Many students want to get these requirements out of the way, to clear their schedule in later semesters for upper-level classes and other academic offerings more suited to their majors. However, if you are not sure which major to pursue, you may want to defer some of the general-education classes. When your major becomes clear, you will know which of the class alternatives within the core requirements are appropriate.

Do not take many electives during your freshman and sophomore years. These courses may not be relevant for the major you wind up pursuing. On the other hand, college is an opportunity to study topics that interest you. Find a balance in these concerns.

4. Choose Varied Courses
Students change their majors often during their college years. Freshmen are the least likely to know for sure the type of degree they will end up earning. By putting together a varied class schedule, you have a better chance of covering your academic bases. This method will expose you to more subjects, expanding your ideas for future classes.

Make sure to take some classes that involve writing, as this is a required skill in most degree programs. You need to be able to compose essays, and present yourself in a professional manner to prospective employers.

5. Focus on Your Degree
Learn early on which courses are required to qualify for the degree you are seeking. While you won’t have to worry about most of these classes during your first couple of years, you must have a plan.

If you feel certain about the major you want, begin taking some upper-level courses even as you are completing the core requirements. Some of the classes you need for your degree may fill quickly, or not be offered each semester. You don’t want to find out during your senior year that you have failed to take a required course.

By following these steps, you can help ensure that the classes you select meet your needs. Picking the right courses, at the appropriate time, is just part of the challenge. You also must create a workload you can sustain, and have a class schedule that fits with the rest of your life. Making your selections wisely can help you reach your goals.

Morning or Afternoon College Classes?

Colleges will schedule classes at various times in the day. You can find a large variety of courses in the morning with some being held as early as seven or eight in the morning depending on where you go. Meanwhile, there are plenty of courses anywhere you go that can be held in the afternoon.

Your decision as to what time of the day your courses should be in can make a real difference. There are many good considerations to think about when choosing courses based on when they are to take place during the day.

When Are You Alert?

Your alertness is a key point to think about when determining the time of day when you should take classes. You might have an easier time thinking or staying alert during the morning hours while some others might be better at it later in the day.

Think carefully about when you’re more likely to be mentally prepared before you take courses at a certain time. Consider how you function in a typical day and set up your class schedule based on that. This is to give you a better chance at doing more with your studies.

Consider Your Other Obligations

Perhaps you might have a job or another key duty that takes place during a certain time of day. If you work in the morning hours then you might need to take courses in the afternoon or later. This is to ensure you have enough of a balance in terms of all the key aspects of your life.

Take a look at your general schedule and prepare your college classes at a time when you know your outside engagements won’t get in the way. Schedule your classes so you won’t feel more pressure than needed through a time crunch that might otherwise be difficult for you to maintain.

What Professors Are You Interested In?

You might want to consider the professors that are available when it comes to taking classes. Think about whether or not it is a good idea for you to take a course at a certain time of day simply because you really like the professor who is teaching it.

You might have to make a sacrifice based on who’s teaching a course. You might have to change your routine if you want to take a course at a different time of day than what you are used to or comfortable with if you really like a professor. Of course, you might also have to skip a course if you find that it’s not easy for you to pull off.

When Can You Handle Your Out Of Class Work?

Don’t forget to think about the time of the day when you can handle the work that you have to complete outside of class. Think about whether you tend to complete outside coursework either during the early or later hours in the day. Schedule your courses based on when it is easier for you to complete those tasks and you’ll see that it is not too hard to get the most out of your coursework.

Be careful when figuring out when you’re going to take college classes. The timing of your classes will certainly be more important than you might think it is. You must schedule your courses at times that are easier for you to manage without being too complicated or otherwise difficult for you to manage.

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