With summer here, it’s time to start thinking about the classes you’ll be taking next semester (actually, it’s a little past that time, but that’s irrelevant). By now returning students and new freshmen have probably realized that choosing classes in college is a bit different from high school: you can create your own schedule, fine-tune it to your preferences and convenience. While this is obviously a big plus to college life, there are some things you should keep in mind when you’re creating your schedule for next semester.
- Check the Catalogue for Classes
Review the courses catalogue to see what classes are being offered for the semester. Some classes are offered only in the spring or in the fall, so don’t wait too long to sign up for those. Also, be sure to have completed all your required classes before taking your electives. This way you can avoid a bind in senior year. You don’t want to have 5 classes left in your program with only 3 being offered that semester. With electives, you’ll be free to take whichever classes you choose.
Click here to see the classes being offered on the Manhattan Campus in the Fall 2014.
- Check your schedule/availability
Have a job? Church? Ministry? Kids? Take those into consideration when creating your schedule. Look for classes that work around any other obligations you may have (or if possible, work your obligations around your class schedule). If you are having an issue scheduling a class, online classes are available for your convenience. You can also talk to the head of your major department about taking an independent study in order to meet that class requirement.
- Look at the course level. If you’re a freshman, a level 400 class (ex. Abnormal Psychology) is probably not for you.
The course codes given to each class weren’t just picked at random; they actually mean something. Level 100 classes (for example, College Writing ENG 101 and Intro to Philosophy PHI 101 etc.) are basic introductory courses. Level 200 courses (ex. New Testament Literature BIB 201 and Global Literature ENG 201) are intermediate, while 300 and 400 courses (ex. Psych Seminar PSY 470) are much more complex and usually contain a heavier workload. If you’re a freshman, you should probably stay away from the 300 and 400 level classes for now. Take it from the girl who took Abnormal Psychology (PSY 342) freshman year and almost had a heart attack when she saw the research paper requirements on the syllabus (check my first blog to understand why that was so scary for me). I was lucky to survive that class with a passing grade.
- Think ahead
Creating an easy semester means you’ll probably have a more difficult one down the road. Mix easy 100 or 200 level courses with more difficult ones to avoid problems in the future. And while you shouldn’t take those upper level courses too soon, saving all your 400 level classes for senior year might ensure some sleepless months and an overly stressful time. Get a little adventurous your junior year and take a few of those challenging courses to lighten the load a bit for the next year.
Check the syllabus for each class and get an idea of what the work load is like. Some classes may ask for more writing than others. Mix up the classes so you’re not writing 5 essays and reading 200 pages of material each week. For example, College Writing, Global Literature, and Informational Literacy might be three classes that you’d want to separate, as they require a lot of writing and a lot of reading. Simply put, balance is the key.
Hope this little blog guides you to a successful semester at Nyack College! Have any other tips you’d like to share? Comment below!