How to Pick Your Classes Freshman Year Of College

Picking which classes you’ll take your freshman year of college can be one of those things that, if done right, can save you a lot of trouble down the road. It may not seem like such a crucial step, but there are a few things to remember to make the most of this crossroads in your college career.

  • Take the middle ground.

This is your first semester in a new place. The last thing you want to do is overload yourself with too many classes while you’re adjusting to your new environment. Besides, you’ll have four years to bog yourself down with more classes than you can handle. Leave that for your junior and senior years.

However, you also want to make sure you avoid taking too few classes, also. Doing that might drop you below the credit hours requirement for a full time student, which can effect your financial aid package.

For now, take the average amount of credit hours (e.g. if the minimum “full time student” course load is 12 hours, and the highest amount of hours a student is allowed to take is 18, then 15 credit hours would be a safe, manageable course load). Once you’ve gotten into the swing of college life and feel comfortable, then you can reconsider increasing your class load.

  •  Get your gen-eds out of the way early on.

Some colleges and universities require their students to take “gen-ed” classes (general education classes everybody has to take to graduate) in addition to their major-specific classes (exactly that: classes geared toward teaching students in their specific major).

Getting these gen-eds out of the way early on will allow you to focus on the classes for your major later on.

You’ll also be doing yourself a favor if you’re not sure what you want to major in or if you decide to change your major later. If you begin taking major-specific classes early and decide to change your major to something else the next year, it might set you back significantly.

  • Get your academic advisor involved.

This one’s underlined because it’s so very important.

Yes, getting your gen-eds out of the way in the beginning of college can be a good idea, but every school, major and student is different. Most schools will either assign you an academic adviser or counselor, or there will be one you can make an appointment with.

Get your adviser’s help when choosing your freshman year classes.

It’s their job to help students navigate the sometimes complicated system that comes with signing up for classes. It’s better to get help early on so you have a better idea of what you’re working with when you might have to register for classes on your own.

It’s also important to keep in mind that some classes might only be offered once every other year / every spring but not fall / some other time that doesn’t work with your schedule. The adviser will likely know all these quirks and will be able to help you plan your classes efficiently.

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Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris is a senior at Benedictine University in Illinois pursuing a degree in writing and publishing. When she is not at work in the Office of Admissions or on the university's newspaper, she can be found writing short stories, reading anything and everything, and spending time with family and friends.