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Friday, May 13, 2011

The stresses of college - months before classes have even begun!

Well, Blogger has been giving me some issues, & I have to apologize that the comments I received on my introductory post were deleted! I also have had an issue in posting new posts using the new content updater! So, just in case anyone that reads this also has the infinite loading issue, here's how to get to the old editor, which I'm using now!
  1. Go to your Dashboard
  2. Click 'Settings'
  3. You should be in the Basic tab
  4. Scroll near the bottom of the page, look for Global Settings
  5. The first option is 'Select post editor'
  6. Click the bubble for 'Old editor'
I know, that was an overly complicated rundown, but hey - some people (like me!) are technologically incompetent, & would rather use ctrl-f (find feature) than reading a million options!

Anyway, on to what I actually want to ramble about! Selecting college courses. Besides my duplicitous car, airhead husband & bent-on-self-destruction toddler, nothing in my life gives me more stress. And it doesn't get any better with each semester - nope, experience is no
shield when it comes to deciding how I'm going to spend the majority of my time for four months. As an example, class registration for the fall semester began on April 11th. Since that time, I have rearranged my schedule over a dozen times, & added or dropped over two dozen classes in six or more courses. Insanity, right?

So, in an effort to impart what little wisdom I've picked up over my six semesters of college, I offer a brief guide to selecting college courses.


First, we're going to print up an arsenal to tackle our future schedule. You'll want -
  • Your unofficial transcript of courses you've already taken (if you're a new student, you won't have one! New students will have to have an official high school transcript sent to the college Records office, in addition to taking an entrance exam (ie, the COMPASS test), & have the results before signing up for classes)
  • The program requirements of your major, as well as future majors or majors you're considering (for example, I'm currently a lowly Liberal Arts prole, transferring to Nursing)
Special Note - Remember that different colleges have different requirements for the same programs! For example, I'm looking at two colleges for Nursing, & their requirements differ. Print both!
  • Obtain a copy of your college's/colleges' catalog - be sure it covers the semester you're attending, (ie 2011-2012 covers Fall 2011 & Spring 2012, & usually Summer 2012). You can get a catalog at the Information, Records, Counseling, &/or Admissions offices.
Next, call your college's Counseling office & schedule an appointment to speak to an adviser. Check your college's department directory to see what counselors cover your major. If you're thinking of transferring to a new major, check to see you meet all the requirements before making an appointment with that adviser. If you're unsure, call them or schedule a phone appointment, to avoid wasting both of your time.

Bring all your paperwork to your appointment, as well as your login information, if your college has a internet based system. My college only registers classes online, & advisers do not have access to your information, if your forget it! Its good to have your own catalog, as you can make notes & bookmark pages accordingly, & take it with you after your appointment.

Here's what you should accomplish at your appointment -
  • Mark off each course you've completed on your chosen majors requirements pages with the grade you received for the course. This is handy when looking at future courses with prerequisites - for example, if a Microbiology 200 course requires a course of Chemistry 100 & Math 27 with a C or better, you can quickly see that you have those done.
  • Compare the courses you need to complete with the courses being offered for the upcoming semester.
  • Write the course subjects being offered on a piece of paper, then prioritize them. First priority are general education (also called core courses) courses; math, reading, & writing. Next are prerequisites for required courses - these are basic introductory courses, like Intro Psychology, Basic Chemistry, Introduction to Speech & Communication. Third are your required courses. Last of all are electives - treat these as courses to round out a schedule, & provide a lighter (& maybe fun) class to offset your stressful schedule.
  • Now look at the actual classes within each course. Determine how you'd like your schedule to be layed out through the week - do you want night or day classes? How many days a week do you want to attend - 2, 3, 4 or even 5+ a week? Weekends a possibility? What time do you want to go to classes, & when do you want to go home? Are you driving or riding on public transportation - this affects when you can take classes as well. Use your preferences to weed out classes that don't fit.
  • Now try to assemble a schedule, with the help of your adviser!

Now, hopefully your adviser can get you all squared away for your upcoming semester, & you just have to get your courses' books & materials, & wait to show up to class! However, this has never been the case for me. Unfortunately, its more than likely you're feeling incredibly confused!

You probably have a list of 10 to 30, or more, classes that are possibilities, but you just weren't able to pin down a handful you're ready to commit to taking. Now, make sure you've narrowed them down according to your preferences listed above, & any other responsibilities you need to take into consideration. Next, we're going to start playing with potential schedules. Here are some ideas for ways to go around easily arranging & rearranging potential schedules -
  • If you're not into using a computer, or just want an easier way to see the big picture, draw up a simple schedule template of the days of the week, & divide it into hourly blocks. Then, separate another piece of paper into squares, & write classes you're considering into each one - include the time, course registration number, & location. Cut them apart, then go to work.
  • Use a program like Microsoft Excel, or for a free version, OpenOffice.org Base. This can be difficult if you have little or no experience in the program, but it does provide a neat, clean way to come up with a schedule.
  • Use a schedule creator online. I like Google's Calender feature.
Well, I hope this incredibly long, wordy guide gives a little help in your search for the perfect class schedule. Take care, until next time!

34 comments:

  1. Oh yes, selecting courses, the dreaded time that comes twice, if not thrice a year. Having to find the classes you need at the times you need and hoping they don't intersect or drive you nuts. Great fun. I greatly appreciate your tips, though. Any help on getting through this stressful period is definitely well-received!

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  2. Thanks for the handy tips, now I can write blog posts again! I'm currently doing an I.T college course.

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  3. thanks for the advice, it will defiently come in handy later.

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  4. My editor is just fine. I know change to something can be strange, but you'll get used to it. just give it a try :)

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  5. Most important of college is finding the right classes! nice blog title by the way! +1

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  6. i have the most stress these days, exams next week!

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  7. WOW! This is so helpful for my son!

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  8. Thanks for the advices. I have upcoming exams:P

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  9. This is extremely helpful! I take my GED in a couple weeks and I have to start looking at colleges now. Thanks!

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  10. i still have one more week of classes

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  11. Good info. I plan on going to college myself once I save up enough. Just don't do what my friend did: buy an expensive tablet, put all of his work and info on it, and leave it on a bus, never to be seen again.

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  12. This guide is really a quite useful one. Helped me out a lot. Hope that you will give us a lot of more useful pieces of advice like this one.

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  13. Thanks for the helpful guide. I wish my school had earlier times to choose classes but I have to wait probably a month to a month a half. Oh well!

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  14. Oh boy, I am so glad that I am not in college anymore. Good guide, nonetheless!

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  15. classes starts in june 3 for me :D

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  16. thank you for the useful info

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  17. I'm picking out classes later this year, any advice is welcome.

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  18. Yeah exam session is cooming... and will hit hard

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  19. Good article i really like it

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  20. classes are still in progress here in Europe.. awaiting summer.. it will be crazy :) then in autumn college classes again.. :(

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  21. Fortunately for me, I've already finished my exams not too long ago. Good luck to everyone with exams, hopefully it won't be long until you're enjoying the peace like me.

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  22. im actually looking forward to my exams thx for the advice man

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  23. Great tips, great name for a blog. Following

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  24. Yup, exam season! i dont miss that at all!

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  25. I'm already starting to panic.

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  26. Thanks alot for the good information. Overall i love this blog !

    Followed

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  27. I always dreaded finding classes.

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  28. Ugh I know that feeling. I just signed up for University and had to sit some tests and pick classes. Stressful!!

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  29. Posted review on blog, check it out any time you want. Awesome tips, It will come in handy, Thanks

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  30. Thanks for the advice good blog!

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  31. you know what helps to me? I write down some major plans for the week, but nothing in detail, then I usually work the details when lying in bed trying to sleep.. and it really works good for me cause the minute I wake up next morning I know what to do

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