Nearly 80% of all college students will switch majors at some point. This makes it especially difficult for incoming freshman to determine the courses they will choose for their first year of college. Don’t stress if you’re still in the “undecided” camp; these tips will help you choose your college classes for your freshman year of college.
Once you’ve declared a major, this becomes much easier. Most colleges have advisors who will help you map the required courses for your chosen degree.
Choosing Your College Classes as a Freshman
· Use the required classes as a base.
As you are going through trying to pick out your classes, pick out and map out the classes you are required to take first. These include your degree prerequisites and the classes you need for your major.
· Map out a four-year plan.
Before you sign up for classes you should map out a four-year plan. Update this plan each semester. You modify it to make sure it accurately reflects the completed courses and the courses still needed for your chosen degree.
· Make a list and prioritize.
Make a list of the classes you want to take and put it next to your list of required classes. Prioritize the classes or rank them according to what classes are most important. After this you will be able to figure out where you can make sacrifices as far as your classes and scheduling goes.
· Work that schedule.
The most difficult aspect of choosing courses is getting a reasonable schedule. Some courses are offered only during certain terms, others require prerequisites that you haven’t yet taken, and others conflict with other required classes. Look at the course guide from previous and upcoming terms to plan your long-term course schedule, and do your best to stick to it.
· Go to class.
Go to more classes than you need the first day. You will get to see all the different classes and teachers and be able to choose better what you want for yourself. After you decide, you can drop the classes you don’t want to keep.
· It’s okay to pivot.
As we said, many students change their major as late as their fifth term in college. The good news is that the prerequisites for most majors are the same. Unless you choose a wildly different major halfway through college, you’re likely to still graduate on time if you work hard.
Most accomplished and productive people usually have one thing in common which is obsession with completion. When they are faced with projects, it is almost their compulsion to finish the task. If they are faced with a project, they would usually break it into manageable chunks especially when they are organized and systematic.
Some of them usually go for all-nighters especially when the project is too big to finish in a few sittings. But no matter how big or small the project is they usually get it done on time and in a consistent manner. If you want to be like them, it takes self discipline and hard work but you’ll get there.
However, if you focus on completion, you can finish tasks and projects in due time.
•Create your project list
If you have around 10 projects to complete, number them from 1 to 10 with 1 being the most important and 10 the least important. For example, you can put the project with the nearest deadline as the first priority. You should also label each project basing on their completion criteria. The first five on the list should be the go-list while the second half as the hold-list.
•Check your list daily
Make sure that you are making progress by completing small outlined tasks for the day. Your primary goal should be completing the project even if it means giving it a big push.
•Finish and start
Once you have finished one task, you can now start on a new project. Do not repopulate the list without doing the rest of the projects on the list. You can reload once all 10 have been finished.
You might be wondering whether this works and it does. Doing this kind of system teaches you to develop a trait that will help you become an accomplished student.
Doing more and working less is simply hard to implement. How then will you make things work out for you without wasting too much of your time? Below are some tips you can use to start working less and be more productive.
- Always keep track of how much you are actually getting done in a single day. It is common to feel guilty if you have things you need to do and yet you chose to have a lot of fun. Your current and future output when compared should show some increase. If you keep track of the things you actually did, it is easier for you to be more productive and spare time for some leisure.
- Avoid doing the same thing in one setting. Put some new experiences in between or discover some new methods of doing things so that you wouldn’t fuel the lazy person in you. You can join organizations, start new hobbies or find new challenges that would fuel your imagination and your mind.
- Know your motivation and keep it. If there are one or two things that can motivate or inspire you to do more, go for it. Not knowing what motivates you in doing something is an easy way to let the boredom creep in. Find a higher purpose why you should attend classes or finish assignments or projects.
- Sit down and focus on one task in one hour and you’ll realize you have done more than you can when you try to do all things at once in an eight our day.
The mere fact that you’re taking down notes means you wanted to retain the information. It’s important to take effective notes, or you’re wasting your time. Notes should be concise, highlight the most important parts of the chapter or lecture, and include references as to why you deemed them important. Too long and you’ll never read them, too short and you won’t remember what you were talking about.
Best Practices for Notetaking
- Identify what’s new to you. There is no point writing down something that you already know. Why will you write down the information you’ve known from the heart?
- Determine whether your professor will most likely use the information later. Focus on things that directly demonstrate the lesson you’re studying including pertinent names, places and dates.
- Tricky information. We all know our professors try to trigger our logical mind by setting out traps and tricky questions in their examination. Often the answers to these traps are given out during their lectures – not in the book. If you are particularly keen about observing such habits then it will be easier for you to crack it down.
- Side comments. Sometimes, side comments are ignored or considered unnecessary. However, most practical questions and answers can be found on side comments whether during lectures or books. Listen to the questions your peers are asking, and the information the professor gives them.
- Doubts. Your doubts and questions are the best source of useful information especially when you are faced with a tough exam ahead. There is not a single student in existence without questions about a certain lesson. If you have doubts, write it down and verify it in your research later.
What You Should Include in Your Notes
- Dates for your notes need to be in chronological order so you can understand the entire event
- Names for you to associate the events or ideas better
- Theories which essentially are the main key points
- Definition of things that is new to you
- Points of arguments and debates such as pros and cons, criticisms of an idea and both sides of the coin.
- Illustrations and exercises
While not technically notes, write down all your questions as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor and get you the answers you need.
Time management is one of the things that are not taught inside the four corners of a classroom. It is a skill you need to develop so that you become more productive and do many things all at once.
•Always read your emails and don’t leave anything sitting in your inbox. Sort out the emails into categories or folders. If the message needs more time before replying, leave it on the to-do folder and so forth. The point is you need to clear your inbox from clutter.
•Multitasking isn’t always good especially for college students who didn’t grow up in the technology invaded world. Multitasking is deadly if you don’t know how to juggle watching TV, replying to instant messages and doing homework all at once. Try to limit this practice.
•Prioritize the most important thing in your list. The first thing you need to do in the morning before you do anything is to list down the things you need to do whether you do this on your phone, notebook or paper is completely up to you.
•Read your emails daily but do it on schedule. It wouldn’t do you any good if you read emails as soon as it arrives. Even though someone contacted you, this doesn’t mean you have to respond immediately. If you want to be more productive at what you do, focus on the task that you specified on schedule and stick with it.
•Instead of making random notes just about anywhere, take advantage of bookmarking services. This will help you get rid of the clutter.
The best thing about time management is you get to achieve many things in a day without compromising on anything.