We know that embarking on the college journey can be confusing and frustrating, but we are here to help guide you through the essentials to ensure you are prepared.
One of the most important decisions you’ll make after deciding to go to college and which college to go to, would be what classes to take. You will spend a semester in these courses and although, it might not seem like a long time, if not chosen properly you could find yourself dropping and adding courses and sometimes stuck in a course you aren’t happy with and who wants that? We will provide our best practices and suggestions on how to best navigate the process of selecting college classes.
Choosing classes to take during any given semester can be challenging, but one tip is to keep in mind is to pay close attention to which classes you are choosing to take in the same semester as others.
For example, my first semester at Carolina was one of my worst, because I chose to take two very difficult courses at once. I registered take one math class and one science class in the same semester, proving to be a real disaster. Personally, I struggle with both and I did not realize how much time I would have to devote to each subject in order to do well. Long story short, I ended up on on academic probation, and I spent the remainder of my career at UNC Chapel Hill struggling to improve my GPA. Choose which classes you register for carefully, and consider levels of difficulty, as well as how much time you will spend on each class during the week.
Selecting classes can be very intimidating. You want to take the courses you need for your major, but in reality you don’t get into your major courses until your junior year anyway. Get those general education courses and prerequisites out of the way first, then focus on that classes for your major. Also keep in mind the difficulty of the classes. For example, it wouldn’t be wise to take biology, economics, and statistics all in one semester. All of these classes require a lot of work and study time outside the classroom. Unless you’re really dedicated to studying, you’re going to have a hard time trying to balance that course load.
Balancing the subjects each semester is important for academic success. Putting too much on one’s plate may lead to overwhelming one’s self and not doing well in the classes. It is important to note, taking 15-18 credits a semester (roughly 5-6 classes) will put you on the track to graduate within 4 years. If taking 5-6 classes in one semester is too much, you may take between 12-15 credits (about 4 classes). Taking 12 credits allows you to keep your financial aid because 12 credits is usually considered a full-time student and FAFSA rules state that in order to receive the full financial aid, in general, the student must be enrolled full-time(there are exceptions to the rule) and make satisfactory grades (depends on the college/university). The downside to taking below 15 credits is you may either need to take summer classes to stay on track to graduate in 4 years or take an additional semester or year to finish. That may mean more potential loans to take out for the additional semester(s). Be sure to balance your classes so you don’t end up losing your eligibility for financial aid while graduating on time.
As you can see there are a lot of things to take into account when selecting classes, such as difficulty level, time commitment, and overall hours in a semester. It is very important to know your strengths and to plan accordingly. Use your resources wisely, the advising office is there for a reason and you should utilize their services. They are there to help you stay on track to graduate and you should listen to their advice. Lastly, realize that you will not always like all the classes you take, some are requirements out of your control. Make the best of each class and give it a fair chance. If help is needed in a course due to difficulty, ensure you visit your professor and go to tutoring and office hours. We hope this helps and you are able to chose your classes more wisely.