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Tips for Picking Classes

It is important to carefully ensure that you have met the prerequisites for any classes you sign up for, therefore read the course description of each class before you sign up for it. Additionally, consider the following questions as you choose classes.

Are you working towards a transfer degree? If so, you should refer to your degree requirement worksheet to find out what classes you can take to complete your degree. If you scored at the college level, you can begin taking many college level classes, such as communication, biology, history, etc.

Are you working towards a technical degree or certificate? It is critical that you follow the order of classes required for your degree. Many technical classes are offered only once a year, and it is important that you take them during the correct quarter. Refer to the online catalog or online program guides for more details.

On the Compass placement test, did you score low in writing and reading (ENGL 90, 92, 97)? If you scored below the college level in writing and reading, it is critical to begin these classes your first quarter. Also, choose your other courses carefully because most classes are college-level and require college level writing and reading skills to be successful.

On the Compass placement test, did you score into college-level writing and reading (ENGL 101 or 100)? If possible, you should begin with ENGL 101 your first quarter to build your writing skills and increase your chance of success in future classes.

On the Compass placement test, where did you place in math? Although it is not critical that you start with math your first quarter, do not put it off for long. Depending on your placement score, you may need several math courses to meet the requirement for your degree and thus it is recommended to complete math classes early.

Are you looking for another good class to take your first quarter? SDS 101 Study Skills is a class that we strongly recommend for any new student, especially those who scored low in writing and reading. This class will teach you test-taking skills, note-taking skills, time management skills, and how to read college level textbooks. These skills will set you up for success in your future classes.

Do you think you would benefit from improving your computer skills? Many classes will require you to complete homework and assignments on a computer. Consider taking BCT 105 Computer Applications to develop your skills in basic computer hardware and software, including internet, word processing, spreadsheets, database applications, and more.

Are you unsure of your career or educational path? SDS 106 Career and Life Planning provides you with an opportunity to explore career options that best fit your personality, interests, abilities, and values.

Are you planning on taking distance or online classes now or in the future? Consider taking SDS 102 Online Readiness. This is a one-credit online class that will teach you how online courses work and how you can be a successful distance learner.

Are you trying to decide how many credits to take? As a new student, it is important to start off on the right foot. Do not choose a course load that is too heavy. If you want to finish your two-year degree in two years, you must take an average of 15 college-level credits per quarter. Since most of our classes are five credits each, this equals three classes. However, 12 credits is the minimum required to be a full-time student; therefore, you could take two five-credit classes and a two-credit class. Very few departments offer one-, two-, and three-credit classes, but some that do include the departments of music (MUSC), student development skills (SDS), and physical education (PEH). For example, a student may take ENGL 101 for five credits, HIST 146 for five credits, and PEH 162 for two credits. PEH 162 is a popular fitness lab class; there is no homework or specific class time. This allows you the freedom to work out when it fits into your schedule. You get graded on attendance only. If you would like more information about Fitness Lab classes, please click here.

Are you working towards an Allied Health program? Make sure you are following your program checklist. It is critical that you check for individual class prerequisites, especially in math and science. For example, when you read the course description for BIOL 241 Anatomy and Physiology, you will notice you need CHEM 121 Inorganic Chemistry and BIOL 211 Majors Cellular before enrolling in BIOL 241. CHEM 121 also has a prerequisite of MATH 99 or higher.

Also, consider these thoughts before signing up for classes:

  • Some students report that taking math and English the same quarter can be overwhelming. Consider taking them different quarters.
  • Have a backup plan. What will you take if your first choice for a class is full? What could you take instead if you go to the first day and decide it’s not for you?
  • Ask current and former students which classes they enjoyed and why.
  • Consider your responsibilities and commitments. Be realistic about how much time you have to spend in class, doing homework, family commitments, and work responsibilities. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
  • As you look for classes to fulfill requirements, keep your eyes open for classes that inspire interest and may relate to what you’re interested in as a career. You’ll do better and find the class easier if the subject is something you’re interested in.
  • Explore new subjects. The AAS degree requires that you take a broad range of classes to expand your knowledge base and help you develop as a well-rounded learner.
  • Speak with your adviser about your career interests and get help selecting relevant courses.


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