How Should I Pick My Freshman Year Classes?

Explore how to choose the classes you need to make up the college schedule you want.

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Picking your college classes as an entering freshman can be a daunting task. It’s important to stay organized and not commit to anything too early.

Navigating the Course Handbook

When accepted to a college, the first thing college freshmen face is the college handbook, filled with hundreds of different choices. Rather than be overwhelmed, figure out what you need to take and what you may place out of.

Colleges are aware that choosing freshman coursework can be confusing. To help, there are various people you can talk to on campus.

Freshman classes generally consist of a combination of general education classes, core courses and distribution classes. This means that in order to graduate, you need to take a certain number of science classes, math classes, art classes, etc. Core courses are generally designed to make you a well-rounded person and may include lessons on writing essays and building organizational skills.

Look through the book to find the courses you need. What are the general education classes required? What classes did you place out of with Advanced Placement (AP) test scores? Do you need a language class?

You can also choose some courses that sound interesting, although you might want to leave this until you have extra room in your schedule. Freshman seminars can also be great ways to meet new people or learn more from famous professors.

Be sure to note which classes are offered which semester and then prioritize accordingly so that you don't get stuck having to take a freshman class your senior year.

Campus Resources for Picking Your Freshmen Schedule

Colleges are aware that choosing freshman coursework can be confusing. To help, there are various people you can talk to on campus.

At some schools, your academic adviser is assigned according to your major. But as a freshman, you probably don't want to strap yourself into a major too soon. An academic adviser can help you navigate the first couple of semesters of scheduling, helping you determine which classes you need and which you may find interesting.

The registrar is the final word on registering for classes. But the registrar can also help you determine which classes you need. Just taking an AP exam doesn't mean you place out of a subject. It can mean you need to take a variation of the course. The registrar can also help you determine if you have too many freshman classes scheduled and answer any questions about your overall college plan.

Before You Register

Before you register for classes, make sure you have been given credit for AP exams and placement tests. Also make sure you’re taking the courses that are required for freshmen. Freshman year gives you the opportunity to take a variety of classes before you choose a major. Use this opportunity to sample some classes in fields that interest you so that you can use this experience to choose a good major down the road.

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