Tips for Choosing Freshman Courses

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Welcome to your first year at TAMU! Whether you are just about to start the second summer semester or are gearing up for fall classes, now is a good time to look over the available courses. One of the first things you should have received upon college acceptance was the grand TAMU handbook overflowing with course choices. But it’s likewise easy for new students to feel overwhelmed with such a selection.

Consider these tips to choosing your first semester classes:

Tips for Choosing Freshman Courses

  • Don’t go overboard with core courses.  The single biggest mistake incoming students make in scheduling their first semester is going overboard on the mandatory core curriculum. Mix up your first year with some intro classes to help you feel out potential career tracks and to keep things interesting.
  • Vary your class sizes.  TAMU both boasts smaller seminar classes and larger lectures frequently attended by over 100 students. Both of these style courses have their benefits. Smaller, intimate classes are ideal for facilitating engagement between students and professors. They are also best for students who learn by doing and interacting with each other. Yet, large lectures hall courses are often best for disseminating a ton of information in a small amount of time. They also are best for those students who are better self-studiers and are good listeners. Pick a mix of these size courses to learn which is best for you.
  • Use the Rate My Professors website.  Would you buy an online product without reading the reviews? Why spend a semester learning under a professor with consistently bad reviews? Professors can often mean the biggest difference between a truly memorable class and something forgotten shortly after finals. Use this website to do a final check to ensure the course materials and teaching faculty members are the right fit for you.
  • Create a schedule that works for you.  Sure, it’s tempting to get your courses done in just two or three days and enjoy the rest of the week off. However, most people find that it’s best not to overbook themselves, at least not in the beginning. Experiment with four to six courses spread out through the week to give yourself ample time for studying and other activities. If you hate it the first week or two, simply switch it up or drop it before the deadline.

Remember, college life is an experience. It’s also a great time to explore what you’re passionate about and what career you want post-graduation. Take time to experiment with different class sizes, styles, and genres. Don’t pressure yourself too much to get it all right the first time. It often takes getting things wrong before you know what is perfectly right for you!

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