Hacking the Course Selection Process
Putting together a semester’s class schedule is a fairly simple task, however most times you don’t realize you’ve messed up until midway through (and usually 2 days after the course drop deadline…). Here’s 5 simple things you can do to eliminate course selection regret.
Build a university career course framework.
Depending on how helpfully your school’s advisors are, this may or may not have been done for you already. By outlining which courses you plan to take each year, you can ensure that all of your pre-requisites and compulsory classes are met as well ensuring you have time to take the electives you’re really interested in. By no means do you have to adhere to this schedule, it simply serves as roadmap to keep you on track. If you’re unsure about this, speak with your advisor, they can usually help you out.
Enroll in extra courses each semester.
Is a course description really enough to decide if you’re going to enjoy a course or not? I suggest enrolling in an extra class or two and dropping the courses you enjoy the least after a few weeks. Most schools will give you a full refund if you drop a course before a certain date, use this to your advantage. Caution, make sure you mark this date on your calendar!
Talk to the professor.
At some point during the first week or so of classes, speak with the professor and get an idea of his teaching philosophy, his helpfulness during office hours, and be sure to make a judgement on his generosity (in the event you need a mark boost…). Building rapport with your professors is important in university, and a quick conversation should help you decide if they have something to offer you.
Consider the course grading format.
If you’re a real whiz on a multiple choice exam, it makes sense to exploit this fact and focus on classes with this grading format. However, you don’t want to leave university without practice in essay writing. Consider the grading scheme when selecting classes, but don’t be afraid to challenge yourself once in a while.
Don’t be afraid to take a “bird” course.
University is about balance; studying and partying, expressing and discovering, easy courses and hard courses. You’re not badass if you take a crazy course load and get sub-par marks. Bird courses are good for your sanity and will give your GPA a boost. Don’t feel guilty about taking a few.
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