The choice is yours
Picking classes in college is different than in high school. For one thing, colleges can offer hundreds, even thousands, of classes. And students in colleges usually have to plan out their own schedule. Here are some strategies that can help you choose your classes.
1. Check out your options
Review the course catalog. If you know your major, choose some courses that fulfill general requirements in that area. If you're not sure what you want to study, pick some classes in subjects that spark your interest.
2. Create a schedule that works
Aim to sign up for four to six courses a semester. Try to spread them out over the week so you have time for studying and other activities each day, and note when classes meet so you don't double book yourself. If you find your schedule isn't a good fit once school starts, you can change it during the first few weeks of classes.
3. Visit your adviser
Some colleges have advisers who help students decide which classes to take. If you are assigned an adviser, try to meet before registration. Come with a list of questions. If your adviser can't answer everything, contact the professors who teach the classes you want to take.
4. Get requirements out of the way
Core requirements range from math and history to philosophy and lab sciences. The number of required courses varies from one college to the next, but you should try to take most of these classes during your first two years so you can concentrate on your major later.
5. Maintain balance
You may want to jump into difficult classes as a freshman, but remember that college courses require more time and effort than high school classes. Start slowly and work up to harder classes. Also, choose classes that require different types of work so you don't end up writing five papers or solving five problem sets in one week.
6. Use college credits and placement exams
If you've earned college credits in high school—for example, through the AP or IB programs—find out if you can use them to fulfill any core requirements before you register. You can also get out of required courses by scoring well on a college placement exam.
7. Take a writing course
Plan to take a writing class during your first semester, even if it's not required. Good writing skills will be important in all your classes—and in whatever career you choose.
8. Register early
The earlier you register, the more likely it is that you'll get the classes you want. Also, if a problem comes up along the way, you'll have more time to deal with it. But no matter how early you register, make sure you have a list of back-up classes in case the ones you want are already full.
Need help once classes start? Visit College Course Work: Help Is Available.
Interested in special college classes and programs, such as study abroad or honors classes? Read Special College Programs.