The Guide to Selecting Your Classes When You Don’t Go to Campus

For many students, picking out classes for next year is one of the most exciting times of the year. Everything is still fresh and new, each class description sounds wonderful, and you're carrying the potential for a perfect grade. Students who go to college in person may either pick their classes in person or do it online, but online students only have one option: online. Here's how to get the classes you need to take when you don't have the luxury of talking to someone in person about it.

1. Know What You Need to Take

Before you can pick out courses that sound fun or exciting, you have to have a solid idea of what your program demands. It's no use signing up for all philosophy courses if you'll be majoring in chemistry, as that only delays how long it'll take before you get your degree, but also the amount of money you'll be spending. There's nothing wrong with taking what you like, but your degree has very specific requirements that have to be met. This information is always found on the school's website, so that's one area where you never want to spend only two seconds on.

2. Look Two Years Ahead

If you're in anything but the final year of your program, you need to be looking both at the next year and the year after. Why? Not every class is offered every year at the same time, and it's always a good idea to know if there are any bumps in the road. This way, you can see if you have to do something like take a particular course at a different college, or restructure your schedule. If you don't, there's always a chance that you get finish all your courses except one, with that last one possibly coming in the summer or a semester by itself.

3. Balance Class Size with Availability and Allure

Availability is whether or not you can enrol in the class (for example, if may be full or open to lower- or upper-classmen), while allure is how generally popular that course is (advanced statistics is usually not as likeable as The Science Behind The Beatles). Those two factors come together to form class size, which may or may not be important to you, or as important to students studying on campus. However, there's another reason to consider class size: the more students enrolled in a particular class, the potentially harder time you'll have of connecting to both them and the prof. If it's a class you know will be tricky for you, consider how important class size is for you to be able to reach out to others if you ever need to.

4. Determine How Independent Your Study Style Is

Do you prefer to just be given the materials and let go to work at your own pace, or would you rather brainstorm ideas with a group of people to get different perspectives? No one study style is wrong or better than others, only when it's not the right one for you. And if you're worried you don't know what your style is, you actually already know: anytime you were assigned an essay or project in high school, was your first reaction to stuff it in your backpack, or turn in your seat to your classmates? The whole reason for this is tied to the above tip, where you should pick classes based on how accessible the prof and TAs are. Not all classes offer the same level of support, so decide how important that is to you.