With course registration for the Spring 2024 semester opening recently, I have been thinking about how I have learned to build a course schedule. During the summer before my first semester at Tufts, I met with my pre-major advisor to discuss course options, and to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I chose courses because they seemed interesting, which is always good, but having had a bit more experience with scheduling courses at Tufts, there are a few more components I try to incorporate when making a schedule.
1. Varying courses
During my first semester at Tufts, I took only humanities and social science courses. While I enjoyed them, I found that having homework and coursework that were too similar made it hard for me to motivate myself. I seemed to always have a reading or an essay I needed to do. Since then, I have tried to take at least one course that isn’t reading and/or writing-based so that I have something else to turn to when I am getting tired of reading or writing.
2. Timing of Courses
If you can, try to pick classes during the times of the day when you feel you are most awake and productive. I am personally a morning person, so I prefer to take morning or early afternoon classes. While sometimes it’s impossible to avoid classes at a later time, it can be helpful to try to plan your classes according to when you think you will be able to absorb the most information.
3. Meeting Major and Distribution Requirements
While it is important to take classes just for fun, you also have to make sure you are making progress toward completing your major and distribution requirements. Hopefully, many major and distribution requirements will also be interesting to you and it won’t feel as though you are only taking a course for the requirement. Also, doing a degree audit through SIS (student information systems) is another great way to see what requirements you have completed and which ones you still need to do.
4. Meeting with Advisors
Pre-major and major advisors are also great resources for helping you pick your courses. They also help make sure you are on track with all of your distribution requirements as well. Once you have a major advisor especially, they can help you pick courses based on your specific interests within the major. You can also meet with your advising dean if you need more guidance.
5. Talking to Friends and Upperclassmen
Some of my favorite classes I’ve taken have been suggestions from friends and/or upperclassmen. I am currently in a data and surveillance course which I never would have taken had my friend not suggested it. Additionally, asking upperclassmen who have the same major as you or similar interests is another great way to find out about interesting courses and professors that you may have overlooked otherwise.
6. Taking Classes for Fun!
Even if you are looking to fulfill a major or distribution requirement, do some research, as you might find some interesting classes that fulfill the requirement but also sound fun! Also, it’s not only okay—but good—to take classes simply because they seem fun and interesting.