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What I wish I’d known about registering for freshman classes

Signing up for classes can be hard, but Spinnaker may be able to help. Photo by Jenn Mello
Signing up for classes can be hard, but Spinnaker may be able to help. Photo by Jenn Mello

Arguably the most important thing incoming freshmen do at orientation is create their first course schedules as students of the University of North Florida. For some, this is also the most stressful part. Spinnaker News Editor Tiffany Butler put together a list of things, in no particular order, that she would have liked to know going into her freshman year.

It’s okay to mix General Education (Gen. Ed.) classes in with other classes.
A lot of students feel like they have to take all of their Gen. Ed. classes before they start working on their major. If your major has pre-requisite courses, check and see if they overlap with your Gen. Eds. or not, and keep that in mind when making schedules.

Utilize Add/Drop week.
If you signed up for a class and for any reason decide you don’t want to take it, the whole first week of classes is structured so that you can drop it without any repercussions. Trust your instinct, and if you don’t think it’s going to work out well for you, go and change it.

Schedule classes in the way that is best for your lifestyle.
It’s important to keep your habits and other commitments in mind. If you aren’t a morning person, it’s okay to schedule your earliest class for noon. If you’re working and going to school, a lot of students try and consolidate their classes to two days a week or opt for online courses where possible. Breaks in between classes can be tricky too, so be careful not to give yourself too little or too much time in between classes.

The university offers a lot more fun classes than you realize.
Freshman are given a booklet with all of the Gen. Ed. requirements listed and the courses that count toward those credits. In a lot of cases, those aren’t the only classes that will satisfy those requirements. Don’t be afraid to look for courses focused on topics you’re interested in.

Ratemyprofessors.com is your friend.
With Gen. Eds., if a professor isn’t that great you can usually take the same class with someone else — sometimes you just have to wait a semester or two. Whether the reviews are good or bad, if a professor made a big enough impact that students took the time to review them, their ratings are probably worth considering when deciding if you want to spend a whole semester with them or not.

Don’t buy books before the first class.
Unless the professor is already assigning readings, students shouldn’t need the textbook right away. The professor will indicate how often they really use the textbook on the first day of class. More than once, I left the first day and returned books I knew I’d never open, sometimes because the professor blatantly stated it.

Price-check textbooks.
Most are only used for a semester so it’s worth bargain shopping. Try and start by comparing the UNF Bookstore with sites like Amazon and Chegg, and rent textbooks when possible.

The degree evaluation is infinitely more useful than the Osprey Map.
The Osprey Map shows a general outline of what a college career should look like whereas the Degree Evaluation is more of a personalized log of what classes you have already taken and still need to take. It can be found under “My Records” in the student tab of myWings.

Always go into advising appointments with a plan.
Advising gets a bad rep, partially because the student to advisor ratio is way off. If you go into the meeting with an idea of what classes you want or specific questions, they’re going to be a much better resource than if you go in totally clueless.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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