Guide to How to Choose College Classes
Stressing about how to choose college classes can turn the greatest experience of your life into a heart-pounding nightmare. Your college years are supposed to be a bit foolhardy, a lot of fun, and (let’s admit it) the most educational of your life — there’s no need to pull your hair out wondering how to choose the right college courses.
There are multiple paths to choosing the right college course. Some degrees (even at an online university) require a rigid set of courses that must be followed to the letter — harder sciences, like geology or archaeology for instance, or pre-med or law school. Other degree plans are more open-ended, which is more fun for the student but also means the student has to act as his own guidance counselor. Regardless of the kind of degree you’re after, you are ultimately going to be responsible for making the right class choices.
Choosing a University Class for Fun
Believe it or not, some college students take courses just for fun. Depending on your degree plan, you may have “elective” hours that give you the chance to take a seminar in underwater basket weaving or Alaskan metrical poetry in the 1960s. If you have elective available, choosing college courses is kind of like picking out your own birthday gift. Maybe you’ve had a desire to learn “restaurant French” and be able to order a glass of wine in Paris without a translator — a single course in conversational French is probably all you’d need. The point is, you do not have to choose college classes that directly relate to your chosen career path. Most of the fun of college is having new experiences and learning new things, so don’t be afraid to take that life drawing class or enroll in singing lessons.
Choosing A College Class With An Adviser
You should treat your college adviser like a parent, a best friend, and a doctor all wrapped in one. A good college adviser can help you speed through your degree plan and graduate early (if you so desire) or really mess you up and cause you to take courses you don’t really need. While advisers are supposed to know everything about your college courses and send you down the right path, we’re all human, and even college advisers makes mistakes. Here’s some steps you can take to make sure your relationship with your college adviser is a good one, and one that will get you the most out of your college experience.
1. First Impression — The old adage is true, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. The first time you meet your college advisor has a big impact on the relationship the two of you will have for the rest of your college career. Dress nicely (think business casual — no need for a tie or a formal gown), smell nice, walk in with a positive attitude, make good eye contact, and be polite.
2. Multiple Meetings — Though it may be possible to sneak by with just a few sessions with your college advisor, choosing the right college classes probably requires as many meetings with your advisor as you can schedule. Remember — your advisor works for you, and a good college advisor will make time to help a student. You should consider two or three meetings per semester the bare minimum.
3. Clear Explanation of Goals — Make sure your college adviser knows why you’re in college. Are you just taking courses to expand your horizons? Let your advisor know. Do you plan on pursuing a Master’s degree or PhD someday? Your adviser needs to know. By making your goals clear with your adviser, you make their job easier, and they can better serve you.
4. Schmooze — When you see your adviser outside of office hours, lay it on thick. Compliment your adviser’s abilities to guide you to the right professors, shake hands, even consider bringing your advisor small gifts to show your appreciation. There’s nothing too small or too big that you can do for your college adviser — remember that this person has your college destiny on their hard drive. Don’t be afraid to schmooze a little.
How Not to Choose a College Class
There are as many bad reasons for taking a college class as there are good ones. Let’s say, for instance, that you have a crush on a particular teaching assistant. Signing up for that TA’s section of Biology just because you want to look at that teacher’s gorgeous eyes is downright silly. For starters — you may not even need that course. At its most extreme, this kind of behavior can be considered stalking. Please avoid choosing a college class based on the looks of the TA. You’ll just be wasting your money.
Another poor way to choose a college class is to take something because your parents did, or even because they tell you to. Sure, your parents are probably helping you pay for college. All the grants, scholarships, and part time jobs in the world are sometimes not enough for the constantly rising cost of a college education. But your parents don’t really want you to be an automaton, or a copy of the person they became. Take what your parents suggest into consideration, and tell them honestly how you feel about their suggestions, but remind them that this is your education and your goals and dreams may be different from their own. Tread lightly during this discussion — getting “cut off” financially just because you didn’t want to take the Latin class your dad recommends is just as dumb as taking the class blindly.
Stop worrying about how to choose a college class — you should worry more about keeping your grades high enough to please your professors, your parents, and your future employers. Most degrees have pretty strict guidelines in terms of what courses to take anyway, and what chances you do have to take electives should come naturally. College is fun, and choosing college classes should be just as much fun.
For information related to how to choose college classes, see the following: