Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How To: Picking a Major and Getting your Dream Schedule!

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At this time of year, us college students need to know what classes we will be taking in the Fall semester (and summer for those of us who take classes then).  Here is a guide I put together for how to love what you will be doing (even if you don't know the classes).

What are your strengths and weaknesses?  If you are amazing at something, try and work that into your major.  Conversely, if you are terrible at something, try to avoid it.

What do you love?  If you have a passion, turn that into something workable.  Do you love to draw?  How about making clothes?  There is always a way to do the things you love!

What programs does your school offer?  If a school has a large program, chances are they attract good teachers.  Smaller departments come off as having difficulty finding competent teachers.  If your school has only a few professors teaching a broad array of classes, consider transferring to a new school.  You want professors who know what they are talking about (I had teachers who taught many unrelated subjects and as a result, I know little in either topic).

What is your personal goal?  I am a Business Management major, but my goal is to open up a craft shop.  I will need to know how to make a name for myself, so I am taking a lot of Marketing classes.

♥ How many extra classes are you taking?  If you are taking a lot of extra classes within the same department, you may want to think about getting a minor.  That way, you get to take all the courses you want, plus you get something to add to your resume!  Bonus?  Yes please!

When do you want to take your classes?  I like having a short break between classes, but I don't mind block classes.  Do you want your classes in the morning, afternoon, or at night?  Night classes are longer and only once a week.  Can you sit through 3 hours of the same person talking about the same thing?

Who do you want to take classes with?  Some professors are clearly better than others.  They understand students needs and are willing to put forth the extra effort to make sure you learn the material.  For this reason, check out RateMyProfessors. Some people will post that a teacher is good because he/she is attractive.  If you weed out those ratings, you are left with mostly accurate information (I just checked out my difficult professor and everybody seems to share the same opinion).  You get opinions of  professors in a variety of courses they teach.  Having good teachers is KEY and I cannot stress that enough!

How does your registration work?  This semester, many students are having difficulty getting into a class because the system is saying that the prerequisites haven't been met.  It is aparently a problem for many students getting into one specific class.  The professor is really cool and understanding (my favorite in the department) and was willing to sign me into the class (even if I DIDN'T take the prerequite course).  If there is a class you want to take, and the registration system will not let you into the course, the people you need to talk to so you can get into the course are more than willing to help out.

► If you are not doing something you love, then don't bother.  Doing something you don't love will just make you miserable!
► Know your work load.  If you can't handle 18 credits, then drop something.  It is no use burning yourself out!
►Take interesting classes.  There are many liberal arts classes you can take that fill various requirements.  If something sounds interesting, take it!  I highly recommend taking language classes!
►If you cannot get into your department because of low grades, then try becoming undeclared!  There is no shame in it and your new advisor will have a general understanding of all departments.

This is what I was able to put together after scheduling this morning.  If there is more to add, please comment about it!

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