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How to Help College Students Choose Classes

by Susan Revermann, studioD

Not only is it nerve wracking to get into college and leave home, students are then faced with the responsibility with correctly mapping out classes to successfully complete a college degree. Fortunately, there are several resources at college students’ disposal when trying to choose the right college classes.


Most colleges assign students an academic adviser. These individuals have access to several different resources to help students choose the best classes for their course of study. Students usually meet with their advisers once a semester to assist in choosing classes for the following semester. During the adviser meetings, the student and the adviser can discuss academic goals, interests, prerequisites and any other issues that either wants to address. Students should take advantage of this free service, especially their first couple of years.

Program Requirements

When a student declares a major, this determines what classes are required to graduate, as well as how many electives are allowed for that degree. Once a student physically has a list in hand, she can look it over and decide which classes she wants to take first or which ones need to be completed as a prerequisite for other classes. There are also general education requirements that are classes that everyone must take. These requirements vary by college. If a student hasn’t declared a major quite yet, she can obtain major requirement lists and review the classes to see what feels right and what interests her.


Depending on a student’s chosen major, there is a certain amount of allowable elective classes to fulfill the credits needed to graduate. Electives are classes that a student can choose according to her interests. If a student must take some brain-busting classes one semester, like statistics and biopsychology, she may want to add a fun class in there, too, such as yoga or art, to even it out. Electives can also help round out a degree and add some specialized component to it. For example, a psychology major student can choose electives in motivational behavior or addictions to bring focus to a certain area.

Time of Day

Students should also consider the time of day that the classes are offered. Let’s face it, some people are morning people and some are not. If a night owl student chooses a Calculus class that is offered at 7 a.m., it’s very likely that the student will not thrive as well as if she had chosen the afternoon class. It’s also important to consider the time the student has between each class. If she has to get from one end of campus to the other in 10 minutes, it may not be feasible to sprint across the grounds in the time, weaving through students and then try to concentrate on the professor as she catches her breath for another 10 minutes. Students that have part-time jobs while attending school will also need to keep time of day in mind so there is no conflict.


A student’s peers can be a valuable resource for honest feedback on certain classes or professors. A student can ask fellow students for suggestions on elective classes that they have taken and enjoyed. Peers can give a student the inside scoop on tough professors or class tips.

About the Author

Susan Revermann is a professional writer with educational and professional experience in psychology, research and teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in psychology, focused on research, motivational behavior and statistics. Revermann also has a background in art, crafts, green living, outdoor activities and overall fitness, balance and well-being.

Photo Credits

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