4 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Picking College Classes

Picking your classes for the semester can be nothing short of traumatizing. While in high school you had little say over the courses and teachers you ended up with, in college it’s all completely up to you. It’s great to have options and be able to tailor your semester to your liking, but it can also be overwhelming and disastrous if done wrong.

Take for example my ridiculous idea to take Environmental Science on a Monday morning, at 7:00 a.m., with a teacher nobody had ever heard of; it’s a miracle I made it out alive. Or the time I decided to sign up for a three hour Political Studies class at 8:00 p.m.; at one point, I started to feel my brain actually shutting itself off for the night.

It took a few of these horrible decisions to figure out the correct way to pick classes, and now my method is absolutely foolproof as long as I avoid these mistakes

1. Bad Timing

Let’s be serious here, nobody cares about Environmental Science at 7 a.m. on a Monday. Before you choose a class, think about the day and the time and make sure they work for you.

The advantage you have as a freshman is that because the classes you need are all introductory, the majority of schools offer dozens of them a semester. So, you don’t have to settle for an inconvenient time.

2. Too much of a bad thing

Another mistake many students make is to cram their schedule full of only one type of class: either core or elective. Ideally, you should have an equal amount of core and elective classes. While it might seem like a good idea to take all your cores at once to get them out of the way, it’s actually the total opposite. Core classes demand a lot more from you than electives, and they can be quite difficult. Overloading yourself, especially during your first year will only end in disaster.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t take only electives either. Not only will this mean that you’ll eventually end up with nothing but core classes and you’ll be in the first scenario I described, but you run the risk of getting totally bored with school because you won’t take your electives seriously.

3. Neglecting Rate My Professors

Rate My Professors is an amazing tool when it comes to picking classes. Simply find your school in their database and search for a particular professor. If the professor is listed, you’ll be able to see how students rank him or her as well as read comments about the class.

RMP can be the deciding factor if you’re on the fence about a certain course. For example, is it an early morning class but with a really fun professor that everyone seems to like? Consider it. Or, is it a five day a week class with a professor who gives a ton of homework and never lets you out early? Not so much.

To learn more about RMP, check out my post: “Why You Should Use Rate My Professors

4. Letting other people do the work

I cannot understand why anyone would ever let their advisor make up a schedule for them. But every semester, without fail, I hear about a student who was handed a schedule by some guy in advising and now they’re stuck with the classes nobody else wanted.

All the advisors do is pick classes at random and sign you up for them; they don’t check the professors or make sure the hours work for you. It makes no sense to let someone else dictate how your entire semester will work; you’re not in high school anymore!

It might seem like choosing classes is a huge ordeal, but it’s really very simple. Once you figure out what days and times work for your schedule and which types of classes you’d like to take, you’re halfway there.

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Mercedes Espinoza

Mercedes Espinoza

Mercedes Espinoza is a senior at Florida Atlantic University pursuing a degree in Multimedia Journalism. Although reading is her first love, writing is a close second and she can usually be found with her nose in a book or hunched over a laptop typing away. Outside of school and work, she’s interested in all things fitness as well as continuing to grow an already massive nail polish collection.