June 2011 – blogUT

That special time of year is just around the corner and for first-year students (and all other students, for that matter), it’s a pretty important time that always requires some planning. Yep, it’s course selection time.

Starting off, first year courses are pretty important. They may not be the most interesting, but we all have face the unbearable one day and first year can be exactly that. For your first year, just have an idea as to what general field you want to get into. For example: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, English, and so on. You’ve got to have a general idea because that determines what kind of courses you have to take to start working towards your Subject POSt/degree. Having to switch part-way through would be frustrating since you’ve already put in so much effort working towards your first choice. So choose wisely in order to avoid such a tragedy. And I mean that. Seriously.

You’ve also got to look into whether a slightly ‘harder’ version of a course is recommended or needed. What I mean by this is that there can be multiple courses that count towards the same thing. However, certain majors require/recommend one over the other. Let’s take Physics, for example. If you’re taking Physics in first year, you essentially have 2 choices: PHY131/PHY132 and PHY151/PHY152. Both are a set of 2 half-year courses. From what I know (don’t quote me on this), Physics programs recommend PHY151/PHY152 while other Science programs (excluding Computer Science) allow you to pick between either. So if you’re keen and into Physics and want to do a Science program, you can go ahead and pick PHY151/PHY152. The only downside, if it even is a downside, is that not a lot of people in the same program take the ‘higher’ and ‘harder’ (note the quotes = not literally) courses. PHY151 and PHY152 are ‘harder’ and more in-depth than PHY131 and PHy132. So yeah. That’s pretty much the main thing you have to watch out for. Usually, though, the majority of people are indecisive when it comes to what they want to do, so it’s nothing to get too uptight about. Just keep some ideas in the back of your head.

Lastly, even though it’s a minor thing, is deciding whether you want to do a specialist, major, or a minor. Specialists are more in-depth versions of majors. And minors are… well, you get the point. Of course, there are pros and cons for each one. In my opinion, majors are more flexible and allow you to do more than one thing. So, if you want to focus on two things, a double major might be best for you. Specialists are for people who are seriously interested in only one subject matter and want to take a lot of courses centered around just that discipline.

Hopefully this helps you out if you needed help on this whole course selection thing. If it did, I’m glad I could help. Until next time!

Click here to see this year’s course calendar.

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