With an overwhelming number of gen eds to choose from, where you should start? “We recommend taking the intro classes in your freshman and sophomore years so you can expand beyond that level in your chosen areas of interest in your junior and senior years,” says Dean Sabovik. Sometimes, your AP, IB, and pre-college course credits (you know, that program your mom made you take last summer) may count as some of your gen ed requirements. While most colleges only accept certain test scores (e.g., a 4 or 5 on an AP exam), you can ask your college advisor just to double check. Aren’t you glad you slaved over AP Calc now?
Since you can finally pick your own classes, why not take a chance and try something new? You may end up discovering your new passion. “I didn’t take psychology until a while into my college career and I wish I would’ve taken it earlier, simply because I found it so fascinating and now I wish I minored in it,” says Jessica Salerno, a senior at Ohio University and HC Contributing Writer. The key to taking an academic risk is to enroll in a class that truly interests you. You may be taking a risk by choosing a middle age history class, but you’re not going to love it if medieval times aren’t your thing. Some colleges have super crazy classes, so make sure to do your research!
Stay focused on your major
Okay, you have one more class to pick after you’ve chosen your major pre-requisite course and two fun gen eds. If you’re at a complete loss, try taking a class that complements your desired major. “I’m a political science major, but I also look for classes in the humanities department because I find they really help improve my writing,” says Annie Pei, a junior at the University of Chicago and HC Contributing Writer. But what if you have no idea what you want to do when you grow up? Take this time to take a class in an area that you may want to major in to see if it fits your interests. Killing two birds with one stone? We like it!
To overload or to not overload?
Between all the amazing courses and the thought of graduating early, you may be tempted to overload your first semester of college by taking more than the recommended number of classes. But is that a smart idea? “For the first semester in particular, take on a challenging but reasonable workload,” says Dean Sabovik. “You’ll be making a lot of adjustments all at once, not just academically.” For first semester, at least, stick to the recommended number of classes. Not only will this give you time to make a smooth transition into college, but you can also decide if overloading is right for you!
Just say when and where
While you may have had the opportunity to choose whether you had Spanish first or second period, high school didn’t give you much freedom to choose when you could take classes. However, all this freedom can make your head explode! Morning or night classes? Should you schedule all your classes on a few days of the week or spread them out? Never fret—we’re here to help!
Day or night?
Unless your high school had crazy hours, college is the first time you can start classes at 3 pm. Though this may sound blissful to some, it’s cringe-worthy for others. Though some mandatory classes may only have one time slot (which means you can’t pick your desired time slot), listen to your body clock when creating your schedule. Otherwise, you may regret it. “My freshman year I signed up for an 8 am and I’m most definitely not a morning person, so pick your classes with your sleep habits in mind,” says Jamie Blynn, a senior at George Washington University and HC Contributing Writer. But before you morning birds schedule all the 8am classes you can find, don’t forget that your pre-collegiette weeknights can be different from your collegiette weeknights. “Remember that in college, you may be going out at night even if it’s not a weekend,” says Jamie.