Summer is almost half over and school is right around the corner, which means more studying, more exams, and more assignments. Before you get to all of that, you’ll have to choose your classes. Some of you have probably already gone through this process and are now registered in your selected classes. Whether you are already prepared or haven’t even thought about the next year of school, the following tips will hopefully guide you toward choosing courses that you are satisfied with and work best for you.
1. Check your start time for course enrollment.
First things first—make sure you have the correct time and date noted for the start of course selection. Some schools such as the University of Western Ontario have already begun the process of admitting students in classes through web registration. Other institutions such as the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto require students to check their start time during a certain period as well as actually enroll in classes during that start time. Faculties often differ on their dates and requirements for course registration, so make sure to double check with your faculty.
2. Check any requirements that need to be fulfilled.
Each faculty as well as any major, minor, or specialist program needs a number of different categories to be fulfilled or classes to be taken. In addition to this are the requirements for a degree laid out by the school at large. For example, the Faculty of Arts and Science at U of T requires students to fulfill a Breadth Requirement, meaning that students have to take classes in 5 different categories including “Society and Its Institutions” and “The Physical and Mathematical Universes.” Make sure to choose classes that fulfill both the requirements of your specific program as well as any more general requirements.
3. Create multiple schedules with back-up courses.
Many of you might have a list of classes in mind that you would love to take. However, many classes fill up quickly and have a limited number of seats available. As a result, a good idea would be to have back-up classes on hand in case your plans don’t pan out. Make sure you think you’ll like or at least don’t mind these classes—you don’t want to be stuck studying something you hate. In addition, create schedules for both your ideal classes and your back-up ones—they create a great visual, as selecting courses for different time slots can get confusing. This way you can also make sure that there are no scheduling conflicts, and it is easy to see how a typical week will go once school actually starts.
4. Keep your plans for after the summer in mind.
Some of you may have extracurriculars or a job during the school year, or plan on getting involved with activities outside of school. If this is the case, be sure to take on a reasonable course load that will hopefully make it easier to balance the different aspects of your life. If you have a job, are the head of a club, and want to have time for friends and family, don’t take on a maximum course load if you think it’ll be too much for you.
5. Check for information about potential classes or professors.
There are resources online through which you can learn more about courses you want to take. Websites such as CourseMate provide ratings from students on things such as course workload. Some schools also collect student evaluations of courses that are then compiled into information for future students. For example, the Anti-Calendar produced by the Arts and Science Students’ Union at U of T is a collection of evaluations on courses and instructors in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Another site for information on instructors is Rate My Professors.
The sheer number of classes available may seem overwhelming at first, but with good planning it can become much easier. Good luck, and hopefully you’ll get the courses and professors you want!