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.
A Guide to Finding the Right University
When deciding which university to attend, you may receive a lot of instructions, tips and guidance from others. There’s too much information to analyze and understand and much research to do, leaving you feeling lost and confused. There are several factors that need to be considered when selecting a university. This guide will provide you a list of things you should look into so you can find a university that truly fits your academic goals:
Every university has different admission requirements so you will need to find out if you have the relevant prerequisites to get admission for the program you want to enroll for. Talk to the admission representatives of the university, the guidance counselor or search the university website to get more information about whether or not you will be able to get in.
Moving away may help you feel and become more independent. However, you may want to be close enough to home so that you will have easy access to your family when you need their support the most. An ideal university should be no more than six hours away from your home. The geographical location of a university is a major factor that should be considered.
One of the most important factors to consider when comparing universities is the cost. Ensure that you include the tuition, program quality, board and room, transportation cost and the cost of social activities, when you calculate a year’s cost of studying at a particular university.
Studying at a university can be quite expensive today and not everyone can get full financial support from their families. It is therefore important to get more information about the financial aid options available at the university. While bursaries and entrance scholarships are available in almost every university, you may want to learn more about the requirements to determine which university will accommodate your financial requirements the best.
The quality of programs within the university will vary greatly. For example, some universities offer excellent art programs but may not have equally good technical programs. Learn more about the kind of offers students get after graduation, program duration, class size and other details that will help you understand how well a particular university is suited to your needs.
Talk to other students at the university to learn more about their experience. It is important to understand that every student will have a different experience at the same university. Keep an open mind and gather more information about what others think about the academic programs, professors, job prospects and class sizes. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to students.
The university you attend will have a long-term impact on your life and is therefore a decision that should be made after much deliberation. Prepare a list of universities that perform well on all the factors discussed above and visit them all personally. This will help you make an informed decision that works well in your favor.
Looking for a Job? Prepare for a Psychometric Test
Employers are looking for candidates that prove to be the ideal fit for a position. They want a candidate with the right set of skills, personality, cultural perspective and intelligence. One of the ways employers test prospective candidates today is through psychometric tests. This testing method provides employers with your personality characteristics, aptitude or intelligence level as well as your behavioral profile. The test usually consists of various aptitude tests and personality tests. It indicates the way you resolve problems, whether you work well individually or in a team and other relevant details. If you are appearing for an interview that will include a psychometric test, there are various ways in which you can prepare for it:
Gain a better understanding of the test
Perhaps the best way to prepare for a psychometric test is by getting familiar with the format of the test and the typical questions that are asked in the test. Psychometric tests are timed and may include numerical or verbal aptitude tests with multiple choice questions. Depending on the nature of the job, the questions may be for topics like human resources, economics, marketing or science. Certain tests also include an abstract test where shapes are used as test questions. Such tests usually do not require candidates to have detailed knowledge of the area. However, spending some time getting familiar with the nature of the test will provide you the edge and confidence you need.
Talk to the recruiter
Before the test, talk to the recruiter to understand what type of questions the psychometric test will include. Some employers allow the use of tools like calculators for the test so you may want to ask if you can use one. Practice using these tools, if allowed, in advance so you will be able to use them with ease and speed during the test.
Before the test, practice as much as possible to improve your test results. Test questions are easily available online today. Practicing will help you train your mind for the questions you can expect. Most employers administer psychometric tests online so it is important to use the same medium for practice.
Psychometric tests will also include personality tests. Always provide honest answers to the questions instead of trying hard to portray yourself as what you consider to be a good employee. These tests are designed to measure the consistency of your answer so fake answers may be easy for the employers to spot. There are no wrong answers in a personality test so just be yourself and allow your real strengths to shine.
Stressing out before the test will only affect the results of your scores. Get a good night’s sleep, be positive and confident and avoid feeling overwhelmed. Psychometric test is usually only one part of the entire assessment process so even if you don’t perform well in the test, you may still be able to get the job based on your other strengths.
How to choose a university
Deciding where to go to college is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. How to choose a university entails a number of considerations. You want to find the college that best meets you priorities, in terms of academics, facilities, policies and other factors. Of course, your budget will play a significant role. Selecting the university that is the right match for you can result in a rewarding career. On the other hand, if you go to a school that does not meet your needs and inspire you to learn, you might get discouraged and drop out before earning a degree.
Begin by compiling a list of colleges in your area, as well as those elsewhere that you want to consider. If you are looking for a school close to home, your list will be shorter. You can save a lot of money by commuting to classes from your family home. However, many consider getting away from home part of the college experience. Staying in a a dorm involves living with different people, managing your money, and providing for yourself in terms of meals and other needs. You have to make choices and decisions not faced while living at home. The life skills you attain may be as valuable as the academic lessons.
Decide whether you want to consider small colleges, large universities or both. A college in a little town may offer smaller class sizes and a more personal environment. Major universities have more classes, facilities and activities.
Research which universities offer degree programs in the field that you plan to study. Consult the various college-rating schemes to see how the institutions on your list rank. Learn their tuition rates, fees, and cost of room of board. This step will likely eliminate some of the candidates. However, a seemingly expensive school may fit in your budget if it offers scholarships or other types of financial aid for which you are eligible.
Find out colleges’ requirements regarding ACT and SAT scores, to make sure you qualify. Consider class sizes and the faculty’s qualifications. If you are physically disabled, struggle with a learning disorder, or have emotional or social problems, see which schools offer the facilities and policies you require. Check out extracurricular activities. Some colleges feature an array of recreational facilities for students, while many offer clubs and programs for the arts and other interests. Academics are just part of the college experience. Make sure the school you choose provides enriching opportunities outside the classroom.
Find out about the academic performance of the students at a college, and the kinds of jobs that graduates have gotten in your field of interest. Learn about schools’ teaching methods, which may be traditional or alternative. You also may be interested in policies regarding grading, safety and campus security, discipline and other matters.
Don’t pay a lot of attention to a school’s reputation, whether good or bad. A college may not be right for you, even if it is considered prestigious. A bad reputation may be unfounded or misleading. Take with a grain of salt any advice offered by friends or family members. They may be basing their opinions on limited personal experience or anecdotal evidence. Find out for yourself.
Reading the information that colleges send you does not provide the whole picture. They spend a lot of money to produce slick brochures and other materials designed to entice you. View their publications and websites as critically as you would a television commercial.
Once you have reduced your list to a few colleges, start scheduling campus visits. Meet administrators and professors, and talk informally with students. Tour the classrooms, library, cafeteria, student-activities areas, dormitories and other facilities. Make sure the information technology is up-to-date. Sit in on some classes to get a feel for what it would be like to attend the college. Try to determine whether it is a place where you will feel secure, happy and eager to learn. Get a sense of the social and political climate on campus. It’s a good idea to take friends or family members with you on the tour, so you can benefit from their perspectives.
Knowing how to choose a university is a complex matter. There are myriad factors to ponder, based on your needs and budget. Start your search early, with an eye on colleges’ deadlines for admissions and student-housing applications.
You will need to set your priorities, because some compromises are inevitable. If you accurately assess your requirements, and thoroughly consider the universities that fit the bill, you have a good chance of finding the right place for a rewarding post-secondary learning experience.