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Course registration is one of the first challenges a freshman faces. And with the ongoing pandemic, it is harder than ever to gain access to advice or basic information about courses at ICU or graduation requirements at all. Here, three members from HCICU will be introducing ICU25s (and anyone else who needs it!) our advice on taking classes at ICU. We hope this helps you!

What Classes are There?

There are various classes at ICU and specific names of those classes that you would hear from students at ICU! For example, as ICU is a bilingual university, classes that are conducted in Japanese is called “J開講” or “J-kaikou,” and classes that are conducted in English is called “E開講” or “E-kaikou.” The required number of classes you take in either Japanese or English for graduation requirements depends on the language program that you take: ELA or JLP. Another group of categories that you should keep in mind are general education classes, where students have the opportunity to learn about a variety of subjects, and such as foundation or area courses which are classes that are of a specific major. Of course, there are many other categories of classes that are required for graduation, such as physical education, however, today we will be focusing on classes that fall in the main categories: courses in Japanese and English, and classes that are focused on a specific subject or major.

Utako’s Advice

First of all, my advice is to take as many classes that interest you from the spring term! I personally felt (and I’ve also heard similar voices from many colleagues) that the spring term course offerings are the best. I think I suffered finding courses that interested me during the winter term so I focused on taking my required general education units. I took quite a few foundation classes in my very first term, only for the reason that they seemed interesting; I was a little afraid that I would regret this later on, but I definitely think I made the right decision a year ago!

 

I would also advise first graders to look through all three semester’s course offerings when registering for one. That way, if you have conflicting classes etc. you can check whether any course is also offered in the following terms. If it is, but it is taught by different professors, check each one’s syllabus and see which one interests you more. Even if it is the same course in the same language, the content, workload, aim of the course etc. tends to vary depending on the professor in charge. 

Kaite’s Advice

One advice that I would give you guys is to not overtake the GE courses all at once. I made that mistake when I was in my first year, which I regret because my workload in my second year greatly increased. GE courses are relatively easier than foundation and area major courses, so it’s better to take these classes little by little while balancing it out with other classes. I would say take two at the most, but one per trimester is a good amount. However, if you are planning to study abroad, it would be a good idea to take more GE classes frequently, maybe about two per trimester. 

 

Another advice would be to explore different majors by taking foundation or area courses, especially during your first year. I did not do that when I was in my first year, and started doing in my second year, which I deeply regret. Don’t be afraid to explore new things or things that you might be interested in, even if it’s just a little bit. Besides, even if you end up not majoring in those subjects, it would count as electives requirements (mainly classes that are not counted towards your major), which is a huge portion of the graduation requirements. 

Jun’s Advice

One advice I always tell new students at ICU is to take as many major requirement classes that you are interested in. In ICU, students choose their majors at the end of their sophomore year. That means students have two whole years to try out different areas of study before deciding on what they want to major in. Taking various classes during the first two years in university helps to diversify the student’s choice of major. I took classes across various majors during my freshman year, and this helped me out by giving me a rich choice of majors to choose from. Even if you have a concrete plan on what you want to major in, there’s always a new discovery by learning something new!

 

Adding on to my first advice, it’s okay not to take GE classes from the beginning. You only have two years to take major requirement courses for your selection, but you have four years to complete taking your GE classes in order to graduate. Completing GE classes is essential for your graduation, but there’s no need to hurry. Instead, I think it would be wiser to take as many major recruitment classes during the first two to three years, and thoroughly take GE classes over the four years you’re enrolled in school. One tip is to take at least one GE class every term. GE classes aren’t as advanced as most major requirement classes, so by taking one GE class and maybe two major requirement classes in a term, you can balance out the level of difficulty or amount of assignments you have to work on. 

 

 

These were some advice on course registration from three HCICU students! Each advice is based on each member’s personal experience, so it is not the perfect answer, but we hope our advice will help everyone out there! What matters most is that you find the best balance between classes that fits you, and enjoy your journey here at ICU!

Jun Fujii

ICU Japan '22

Hi! I'm Jun Fujii, studying anthropology at International Christian University. I love eating, dancing, and walking outside in the sun!
Kaitlyn Corbett

ICU Japan '23

My name is Kaitlyn Corbett, a sophomore at International Christian University. I am currently studying Media and Communication studies, and I'm specifically interested in learning about the media communicates with children. Some of my hobbies are playing sports, such as soccer and tennis.
Utako Kawakami

ICU Japan '24

Hi, I'm Utako and I am a sophomore at International Christian University!
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