Choosing Courses to Help You Be Successful

Several college students are currently faced with the task of choosing courses for the next semester or trimester, depending on their schedule. While picking courses sounds like a simple and even mundane task, it is quite an important one that actually stresses a lot of college students out. 

College students have to juggle everything from the multitude of major and general education requirements to personal goals and concerns such as desiring to graduate early (which is desired by many college students for several reasons), wanting no classes on Fridays, hating morning classes, and just merely wanting a semester full of courses that are interesting and challenging enough without being too overwhelming. 

Talk to your academic adviser.

Before you do anything, contact your academic adviser to see where you are in terms of making progress towards your major(s) or minor(s), as well as any general education requirements you have. If you do have multiple majors or minors as I do, then this can seem a bit hectic. Keep in mind though that some major or minor requirements might be a bit more straightforward or flexible than others. You might be able to check your progress simply by emailing your academic adviser with any questions you have or sending them the courses you’ve taken and asking what requirements you have yet to fulfill. Of course, this requires you to keep track of what courses you’re taking and what requirements they satisfy each semester, which is something that I HIGHLY recommend doing. Doing this really makes picking courses less of a guessing game because you’re already aware of what requirements you need to fill, making your meetings with advisers more like a double check that you’re still on track rather than starting from scratch each semester. 

Think about what works best for you.

Once you know what requirements you still have unfulfilled, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what types of classes work well for you and what formats do not. If you know that you struggle to wake up early in the mornings or that you learn better in person as opposed to virtually, try to avoid morning classes and online classes if you can. Of course, there are some circumstances that make it impossible to avoid taking a morning class or a large lecture class, but if you do have a choice, make sure it’s the one that’s best for you! No point in setting yourself up for a semester full of hardships if you can avoid it. Trust me, your semester will go a lot smoother if you honor your preferences whenever you have the option to.

Prioritize your academic interests and goals.

Speaking of options, there are a ton of those when registering for classes! Like, a ton. There are a lot of suggestions for how college students should pick and choose between the thousands of course options. Aside from the courses that you have to take for your majors and minors, a majority of most college students’ courses consist of classes that they picked from the hundreds of options that satisfy the same requirement. While it can be very beneficial to branch out and take courses outside of your major, make sure to always prioritize your academic interests and goals. No matter what subject the course is in, it is important to make sure that you’re taking classes that actually sound interesting and intellectually stimulating to you. Being in a class that you find boring only makes the course (and showing up to it) ten times more difficult because you lack any motivation to engage with the material. College is about increasing your knowledge and delving deep into the topics and fields that you love, so make sure that you are prioritizing that when it’s time to register for classes. 

While we don’t have full control of the classes we register for, as some courses are required, and the courses that are offered each semester are not chosen by the students, there are still plenty of things that we can control to ensure that we have a successful semester! I have made some scheduling mistakes in the past myself, so I hope that you learn from my mistakes and find these tips helpful when it comes time to register for your next set of courses!



Class of 2021
Hey y’all, I’m a History and Gender and Women Studies double major and a French minor from Chicago! I concentrate in all things Black and Black women studies and love long-distance running.

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