Navigating the first week of college can be difficult. Coming off of NSO, meetings with RAs, and dozens of lectures in the ICC about all of the different aspects of college life makes you feel ready to start class, but there are a few tools for navigating Add/Drop and course selection that make your entire first work seem easier.
- Don’t be afraid to shop classes. Huge lectures will be relatively introductory the first week, so if there’s a smaller lecture or seminar you’re interested in that meets at the same time, see if one of your friends is also taking the big lecture and meet up with them afterwards to see what it was like. Going to smaller lectures earlier on is important for getting a seat in the course, because you can often walk up to the professor at the end of the class and request an add/drop into the class, even if it’s full on MyAccess.
- Friday recitations aren’t (usually) difficult to change, and can mess up signing up for another class that meets on Fridays. If you want to try and switch recitations to take another course, just email your professor and explain the issue. More likely than not, they’re fine having an extra person or two in a given Friday recitation.
- Use the course evaluation tool on MyAccess. Everyone touts RateMyProfessor as the best tool, but often, it’s the most extreme reviews on either end; students that strongly disliked the professor, or students that loved the professor. The course evaluation tool on MyAccess has more data, more questions, and is quantitative. Plus, you can see historicals for all the semesters a given course has been taught. To see it, just click on “Course Evaluation” when you’re on a given course’s page.
- If you’re not into the core requirements, cross-list. Regardless of the school you’re in, you’ll find a pretty lengthy list of required courses you’ll need to complete before you graduate. Many of you won’t take major classes until even the end of your sophomore year. If you’re daunted by the core, consider cross listing your requirements to bang two out for the course-space of one. To do so, on MyAccess in the schedule search, select a given core requirement in the “fulfills requirement for” menu, scroll down to the X-List menu, and choose the department or requirement you’d like to double up with. Common cross lists include Theology/Philosophy, HALC/Philosophy, HALC/Diversity, and more.
- Don’t be afraid to take electives. Most students will take 12 course majors, maybe a 6 course minor, and require a 14-16 course core curriculum. That still leaves you with 6 courses of free space, and that’s just to fulfill the 40 required courses to graduate, which many students surpass. Some students choose to take all six of those electives later on, but throwing one in your first semester can be a nice way to expose yourself to an area of interest you don’t plan on majoring in.
Eric Jubber, College Class of ’20