Even though the semester isn’t yet half over, the schedule for spring 2011 classes is already in the making and course selection begins Nov. 1. Students are already considering what classes they want to take. When selecting courses, there are a few things students should keep in mind.
Some students need to take general education courses. Phil Schmidt, general advisoring coordinator, said students tend to push away courses they don’t like, which is not a good idea. “Gen-ed’s are inescapable, the student is better off taking them as soon as possible,” said Schmidt.
Rosalina Valdovinos, elementary education senior, said, “It’s good to spread them out a little, but it’s best to take most your first two years.”
Advisors are a great source of information when making class decisions. Sstudents rely on advisors within their major for help, thanks to a new advising system incorporated in the fall of 2009. In the old system, students were assigned a general advisor first and then transferred to a major advisor in later. “Many of the faculty like the new system so that they have their major from the get-go,” said Schmidt.
Faculty members are not the only ones who like the new system. “I think it’s important to have an advisor in your major because I wasted three semesters of college taking the wrong classes for my major,” said Justin Williams, elementary education senior.
Advisors will always be more likely to suggest classes in their chosen major, but that doesn’t mean students shouldn’t branch out. “If they aren’t overwhelmed with hours already, then they should take something that sounds interesting just for fun,” said Valdovinos.
Williams agrees, “I think it’s important to experience other classes. You never know what you’ll like until you’ve tried it.”
There are also some students who are undecided. Schmidt deals mainly with these students. “I start with one question: ‘What didn’t you really like about high school?’”
This question identifies classes to get out of the way first and is a starting point that eventually leads to the student’s interests.
Students who have completed their gen-eds may have some extra time. Valdovinos recommends Creative Writing. “It helped me think outside the box about how to write a story,” she said. “And Creative Writing can come in handy in more than just one major.”
There are other options as well. “If you have any interest in music at all, I would recommend taking any introduction to music class or private instruction,” said Williams.
Taking a variety of classes may spark an interest students didn’t know they had. “Data shows that about half of high school students change their mind about their major during college,” said Schmidt.
That being the case, there’s a moral to this story. Don’t be afraid to tackle dreaded classes or try new things this spring.
Erin Morris is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.