It’s officially real.
I am signing up for classes. College classes. Classes like Communication: Public Speaking 101 and Integrated Value of Business 109.
I have never wished I had Mr. McClory available more than I do now. Seriously.
Scheduling for classes in high school is a breeze compared to scheduling for college. In high school, I had less class options, set times, and same classes all year. I would basically write my own schedule every year, schmoozing the counselors into giving me my favorite teacher or that one class with ALL my friends. I thought college registration was gonna be at least somewhat alike. But as I was scrolling through the 50 pages of classes, I quickly realized that I had no idea what I was doing.
The great thing is, I wasn’t unhappy with this new world of scheduling, I was just very, very overwhelmed. I am in no way a schedule expert, let alone a college expert. Actually, I am the farthest from that. I am officially a freshman again, trying to find my way through this whole new world of scheduling. But if I was to give myself any credit, this is coming from a girl that has no 8 a.m. classes, no more than three classes a day, and absolutely no classes on Fridays… her freshman year of college. I mean, not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty proud of how I found the ins and outs of college registration.
Courses or ice cream flavors?
One would think that more options is better.. but that’s not necessarily true. There are so many options, like so so many. The only other thing I can think of with that many options is ice cream flavors. Classes go from like English 101 to the Introduction of Beekeeping. That’s like going from vanilla to wasabi pea dust flavored ice cream. So. Many. Options. Scrolling through every class that’s offered taking into consideration the subject, teacher, fees, class size, class times, etc. would take a normal person probably like three hours. Thank the college gods for general eds. Yes, they suck to the future quantum physicists and molecular biologists who are already jumping out of their pants to take their major-specific classes. But if you’re like me and have no idea what to do with your life, or you are just unsure about your current interests, general eds are a god sent.
Classes before classes?
General Education courses are prerequisites that every student is required to take before diving full-fledged into their major courses. Basically, you get told what classes to take your freshman/sophomore year. Gen eds include all the core classes (English, math, science, human resources, etc.) that give you a solid foundation to build on with your future, more important classes. For those of you that are wrinkling your nose at this, don’t worry, there are loopholes. You can receive qualifying scores on placement tests (SAT, ACT) to bypass some gen eds. For example, I received an SAT English score that allowed me to skip ENG 101 (the freshman English class) and take ENG 102 my freshman year. Moral of the story, those stupid placement tests that we all study so hard for have more important purposes than just helping you get into a college. Taking AP courses and receiving a worthy score could also help you bypass a gen ed. The difference with this method is that you would get college credit for the gen ed you are able to skip by receiving a certain score on the AP Test–saving money and getting you one step closer to your college diploma.
The magic number
To be considered a full-time student at many colleges, you have to take around 12 credits. 15 puts you on track to graduate in 4 years, as long as you don’t take any classes that overlap or are a waste and put into your pile of elective credits. This means that after you lay out all your gen eds, you can take two or three major specific or exploration classes a.k.a. the fun stuff. There are so many elective classes that I never even knew existed. From personality research to rock climbing, there are options for everyone. Choosing all your classes may seem like the hardest part in this scheduling process– but oh are you in for a surprise.
After you get organized and narrow your class options down, you now have to play Tetris. You have to worry about the professor, time of day, length of class, class size, class fees, location of class, how long will it take you to walk across campus to get to those classes. There’s probably a lot more things to take into account for those of us that are on a higher level of OCD than the average person. But even that listed minimum is the most overwhelming part of registration. At that moment, Schedule Planner became my new best friend. Most, if not all colleges have their own online system called Schedule Planner that is specific to their courses. You basically list all of the classes you would potentially take that semester and the computer calculates every single combination that your schedule could be. From there, you can narrow it down by selecting certain teachers, times, etc. I started with 1,578 possible schedules and I narrowed it down until I had the perfect schedule for me. I highly recommend finding some kind of magical program like Schedule Planner, it makes it uber easy.
Who can be as important as what
Okay now listen up. If you are looking for one takeaway from all of this advice, here it is.
From what I’ve heard… time, place, class size, everything else doesn’t even matter if you have a disengaged, pretentious, self-absorbed professor. The one who makes you buy their book, but doesn’t have any questions, on any tests, about anything in their “masterpiece”. This website is the holy grail for avoiding that, let me tell you. It is basically like Yelp or TripAdvisor, but for professors. There is a profile for every professor in every subject for your specific college on this website. Previous students who take classes with a professor log on and answer different questions to give the professor a rating. Things like: did they care about their students, did they give extra credit, level of difficulty, and even a “hot” scale– although that part doesn’t really help with scheduling. The website takes all the students’ opinions and creates an overall rate for the professor. I believe an instructor can make or break your class. And from what I read on ratemyprofessors.com, my belief is a truth to many. So I made it a point to pay attention to all those four or five stars. I did not want to sign up for a run down, barely functional Super 8 Motel professor.
We’ll see if all this is true, but it seems pretty legit.
So right now I feel like a genius and that I’m ready. We’ll see if that’s true too.