Picking classes is something that most college students don’t take seriously enough. Most students rely on advisers to choose classes for them. More often then not advisers steer students in the wrong direction. Even the most well meaning of advisers can make mistakes when helping a student choose what classes to take in which order. It is the students job to sort through everything and make the best decisions on their own personal class schedule. There are many things that students can do to make sure they get the best classes
One of the biggest mistakes is not looking at class options early enough. If you wait until the last week to select classes then options will be minimal and you will have a greater difficultly selecting the classes you want and need. Most colleges place restrictions and allow seniors to have first dibs on classes. Start the process as soon as possible
Know What You Need
Know what classes you have to take, which of them have prerequisites, and if any of them are dependent upon your year. Some classes are only open to juniors or seniors while other classes must be completed during the freshmen year. Make sure you have filled any prerequisites needed to take a class. For example, make sure you have taken Physics 1 before you sign up for Physics 2. Know when you need to take classes. If you are a morning person go for that 8am class. If you like to like to sleep in opt for the 11am class. If you work during the day sign up for night classes
Balance Your Load
Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses so be sure to balance your class load accordingly. If you are poor in math do no take Calculus and Statistics in the same semester. Don’t be afraid of variety. Take Chemistry, Art History, and Computer Skills at the same time to keep your mind sharp in multiple fields. Avoid piling all of your difficult classes in one semester. Taking Advanced Trigonometry and Financial Accounting in one semester can be too heavy of a schedule. Instead try taking a basic computer class that you know you will do well in.
Care About Credits
Maybe 12 credits is considered full time but don’t limit yourself to that. Remember if you have to withdraw from a class and you drop below 12 credits you may loose your financial aid. Try taking 15 to 17 credits. Most colleges put the credit limit at 20 but that doesn’t mean you have to take that amount. Don’t overload yourself even if you are trying to play catch up. In the end it may do more harm then good.
Ask for Advice
If you are curious about a specific teacher or class the best people to ask are you peers. They can tell you exactly what class are like and how teachers interact with students. Students are honest and don’t hold back. If a teacher is great then you will hear about it from many different people. If a teacher is bad former students are more then willing to warn others about them. Although advisers are meant to help you do not rely on them. You can ask them for an opinion on a teacher but their answer wont be honest. No matter how bad their co-worker is they will never tell you. It’s not professional for them to insult other instructors no matter how bad they are. The website Rate My Professors is a peer professor rating site that can help you avoid those bad professors. People can post their uncensored, unbiased opinions of a teacher. Always take opinions with a grain of salt.
Always have a plan B if the classes that you wanted to sign up for don’t work out. If you wanted a specific instructor and they are not available you will have to make due with another. If that meditation and relaxation class conflicts with another class you’ll have to take a normal physical education class like basketball or track. Maybe you wanted that 2pm English class so you can make it home in time for Oprah. If the class is full you have no choice but to go for the 3pm class. A schedule isn’t always perfect but you can make it work. Besides, you can always Tivo Oprah and watch it when you get home.
Advocate For Yourself
College is all about being independent so it’s important that you make your own decisions. Don’t rely on advisers or anyone else to pick classes for you. Advisers tend to be clueless and will put you in whatever classes are open, even if you don’t need those classes to graduate. Fight for your class placement and fight for your transfer credits. Your future is yours alone, so you have to be in control of it. Even if you make some mistakes along the way as least you can learn something.