Monday, February 14, 2011

Classes: Choose/Add/Drop

One of the most stressful things in college that you'll ever experience is selecting the right classes for the term. With hundreds, maybe even thousands, of different classes offered at the University of Virginia, it can be difficult to even find a few handful of classes you want to take. One of the most frustrating things during summer orientation before your first year was the orientation leaders throwing a fat course catalogue at you and telling you to chose at least ten classes. Here are some pointers on setting your near perfect schedule.

Choosing. Although most students won't be taking ten classes in a semester, it is always crucial to chose some extra, because often you will not get into the class of your wishing. When choosing classes, there are many aspects to look at. First of all, depending on which school you are in, you have different requirements to fill. I am in the College of Arts and Sciences and I have requirements for writing, math, sciences, history, and more. If you're looking for a class, be aware of ones that fill more than one requirement. For example, my GETR (German In Translation) class can fill a history, second writing and religion requirement. In your first and second year at the university, you will probably be filling most of your basic requirements, which means that you'll be trying to get into classes that fill up extremely fast. Don't stress out about this, because the beauty about college is that you have the flexibility to take what you want. If you can't get all of your classes, check out classes that you normally wouldn't take. It could be Astronomy, Arts, Computer Science, Studies in Woman and Gender, or anything else -- the possibilities are endless. Most people change their intended majors from when they enter college, so don't tie yourself down to a set category of classes. A good way to check with some classes is to check out sites such as for reviews of classes, teachers, and sometimes even class grades.

Adding and Dropping. During the whole selection process, you'll  also have a deadline to add and drop classes. Typically the deadline will be around two weeks into the semester, so you can go to your classes and decide if you want to stay in them or not. In these two weeks, you can chose to add classes, chose to audit one, or drop one. This is all easily done online, over the Student Information System run by UVA. All you have to do is to make sure is that you still fill a 12 credit minimum requirement to be a full time student at the university. A great thing about this time of the semester is that you can attend one class of a course, even if you're not officially enrolled in it yet and decide whether you like it or not. Most professors won't mind you sitting in, because who would want to discourage interest, right? Course action forms are also a beauty for a filled class. Go see the professor, show your interest, and there is a pretty decent chance for the professor to let you into the class anyway.

With all of these flexibility in setting your schedule, you should never really fret about getting all of your classes. There will always be many opportunities to get into a class, whether it be now or later. The best thing is always to take classes you're interested in, but also never be afraid to explore others you wouldn't normally think of taking!

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