Monday, April 23, 2012
Signing Up For Classes 101
Sometimes the amount of people that are not coached through how to successfully navigate through the challenges found in college surprises us. One of the most overlooked, simple yet overlooked thing is the class sign up process. Some of you that are reading this already know all that we will be saying, but some of you haven't even thought about registering for classes yet, being that registration for most started last month we felt that maybe writing a little guide might aid those that are struggling through this, and no worries, everyone has at least one semester where they forget to register or have difficulty finding the classes they want to take.
Know Your Catalog: Plain And Simple
If we write on this topic another 10 times we will always include a section on the catalog. First things first you must realize one simple fact of life, the catalog is your friend, he is your guide, your helper and without him you will not get far. The first thing to discover is what catalog year you belong too, every year or so the catalog changes so knowing which catalog year you are is essential to how your class planning is going to go. Once you have found out which catalog you belong to the next step is easier, first look and find the core classes section, meaning find all the classes you *have* to take, these will be your guide throughout this whole process. Then take a highlighter and cross out all the classes you have already taken, if you care about organization then writing a number next to the classes to signify which semester you have taken the class or plan on taking the class, you can, for it might help later on.
Now a really easy way to do this that would save you a ton of time is just sitting down and plotting which classes you'll be taking each semester starting with the core classes, for most undergraduate institutions you only have to take 60 - 80 core credits, (this all changes if you are going to nursing or pharmacy being that they plan everything for you ahead of time). One class generally equals 3 credits, so when we say 60 credits we mean 20 classes, this might sound like a lot but it's not, here is where planning really makes sense and helps you understand how doable this all is. If you take 15 credit semesters, and take 9 credits during the summer you can get rid of 39 of those credits in one year, summer classes are your friend, they will save you money and time, trust us on this. Following this simple pattern you will be done with your core classes in no time at all and will be able to spend more time in your desired field or spend more time figuring out what that field is to begin with.
This all might seem elementary to some of you and for that we applaud you, but for some people out there this stuff was never taught to them and thus we felt that it was about time someone wrote something that simplified this whole signing up process. When you take into account that there are 20+ classes you can sign up for signing up a little late doesn't really injure you much, but don't make a habit of it for it can injure you hardcore later on, specially if you're on your last semester, don't mess around with scheduling specially then. Taking core classes might seem dull, but stick it out, this is definitely the best course of action, a lot can happen in a year, maybe you decide to transfer or change your major/minor, so sticking with your core for the first year and a half is a solid and safe choice.
Our advice for choosing your major and minor is to first realize that not all majors require minors, this is a simple mistake many have committed in the past, don't follow their example. Second, look through all the majors and select 3 you really like then take a semester and take a basic class in one of each to see if you like it, if on the first day you get there and hate it then drop it and try again. You have about a few weeks to figure out if you like a class or not before you can't drop it anymore, so use this to your advantage when figuring out what major you would like by trying out a few classes that interest you. Thirdly, use the system to your advantage, from dropping classes, to summer classes, to talking to professors and so forth, these are all available to you but one very important thing that many overlook is that your surrounding colleagues are also available to you, talking to upper classmen about their major might really help you find your own path, don't be shy when talking to people, they've been where you are they know what's up.
There is a lot more that we could say here, we could talk on this topic for a good amount of time, but to summarize everything we already said, here is what you need to know: know your catalog, organize what classes you'll be taking per semester, summer classes will save you time and energy, upper classmen and professors are always available to help you out, and finally if you have any further questions feel free to ask us on the "comments box" bellow and we'll do our best to help you out.
We hope this has been of some help to those having a hard time signing up for classes and doing the whole college thing. We hope you all had a great weekend and pray that this week might be a great one for you.
Love from your humble blogger,