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So you’ve made the big decisions: you’ve decided to enroll in college and you’ve also chosen what your major is going to be. All the big hurdles are out of the way, right? Unfortunately, sometimes it’s difficult to figure out just what are the best classes and courses you should sign up for. Before you get lost in the sea of classes and courses, read this blog post Upper Iowa University wrote just for you! Here, we’ll clue you in on some handy tips to help make it easier for you to make the smartest decisions when it comes to choosing what classes and courses to sign up for!
Although you may really, really, really like a certain professor because you’re familiar with some of their work, it’s not the best idea to sign up for five courses with the same one. The whole point of grad school is to broaden your horizon and expand your field of knowledge. Receiving only one point of view halts your development and doesn’t let you experience as much as you possibly can.
If you’ve already had some experience with a professor, ask them for some advice. It’s easy to just sign up for whatever course says “Advanced” in front of it, but that’s not the best way to take advantage of the amazing opportunities you’ve been given. For example, classes can cover entirely new subjects or a view through different lenses. Personal experiences from professors can lead you in directions you may not expect. For example, if you’re seeking a master’s in genetics or another subfield of biology, you could get pointed in the direction of a department or career field you’d never expect. While the class may not directly relate to your current research, your professor will know how it can provide future insight.
One useful tip is to choose courses that not only sharpen skills you’re currently well-versed in, but will also allow you to learn new skills and grant you the opportunity to possibly enter a new career field. For example, if you’re studying in the field of humanities, consider taking a creative nonfiction writing class. If you study natural sciences, a data or statistics class would be a great option. Sometimes these combinations provide a career path that you would have never expected. It’s one of the best ways to discover a brand new perspective and broaden your horizons for life.
Use a website like RateMyProfessor to get some fellow students’ perspective on a certain professor. Of course, it’s necessary to take these with a grain of salt. Some students have a personal vendetta with a teacher, but if the majority of the reviews are negative, it may not be the best option to take. Another useful tip is to talk to upperclassmen. When it comes to knowing the ins and outs of the system, this can be the best way to go.
Take introductory and advanced classes. Take smaller and larger classes. Go to familiar and less-known departments. In other words, don’t have a uniform, monotone experience. Branch out into fields you’re interested in learning more about, but don’t overdo it. Take a course you have some knowledge about, so you can expand your current skill set. Try both smaller and larger classes. Smaller seminar classes will have deeper, more intimate conversations between faculty members and students. Larger classes can have more engaging presentations. Having a well-balanced course load is the best way to make sure you don’t burn out by the end of the semester or school year. Of course, don’t expect to get into every single class you want to. Have a few backup classes planned, just in case you get put on a waiting list.
When you’re done with your initial course load, make sure you talk with other upperclassmen and your adviser to make sure you’ve developed the best fit possible. And if you come to Upper Iowa University, no matter which of our many majors you choose for your degree program, we’ll make sure to help you be certain you’ve established the right fit. If you need any more information, don’t hesitate and get in touch with us by giving us a call at (800) 553-4150.