Nine Tips For Selecting Your College Courses at IU

Choosing classes at IU can be extremely stressful, especially for first year students. There are hundreds of classes to select from the course catalog. Every student wants to make the perfect combination of gen ed courses, elective classes, and major-specific classes. How does each student know which classes to choose?

Knowing your major(s) and minor(s) definitely has its advantages, but it obviously is not necessary. However, I will base many of my tips off of the assumption that you have selected your major.

  1. Look up your major requirements through the IU website. Go to the IU Academics page, then select your major. From there, each department will supply you with the course requirements for your major. You can also find information about additional majors and/or minors.
  2. Typically freshmen take a lot of courses which are known as "gen ed" courses. These are the classes such as Math, English, or Oral Communication which may not be your major, but you will most likely need to complete your major. Students typically tend to knock these out as freshmen so they can focus more on major-specific courses as sophomores and upperclassmen.
  3. Consider how many credits you already have, whether they were earned through AP classes, dual-credit courses, or from another college or university. Hopefully you did well enough in those courses so they count as credit for the IU equivalent of that course. If you are fortunate enough for this to happen, you can cross those classes off of the list because you won't have to take them again!
  4. Evaluate how many credit hours you want/need to take. To be a full time student you must take at least 12 credit hours. Most students take between 12 and 17 credit hours because this is considered the "flat rate" you pay for tuition. If you take more than 17 credit hours, you will pay more. 
  5. Double Count credits! Double counting is the idea that a class you may be taking to satisfy a necessary credit for your major also counts as another credit that you will need. For example, your major may require you to take Finite Mathematics. This class will also count towards your gen ed Natural & Mathematical courses. So many classes will double count, so before you take potentially unnecessary classes, look to see which courses you are taking will count towards something else.
  6. Think about class times. Are you a morning person? Do you want to avoNine Tid late classes? Do you want to have Fridays completely free from classes? The awesome thing about college is that you can make your schedule however you want it! Unfortunately, there will be classes that you will need to take that are only offered at one time. Don't avoid taking those classes, though. Suck it up and get them out of the way! However, for the most part, you'll be able to work out your schedule exactly or similarly to how you want it to be.
  7. Consider class location. IU has a gorgeous campus, however it takes approximately 25-30 minutes to walk from one end of campus to the other. When looking at class options, refer to a map. If you only have 15 minutes to get from the Psychology building to Swain West, for example, then maybe you should reconsider putting those classes so closely together.
  8. If you are registering for classes for the first time during freshman orientation, get the earliest orientation date that your summer schedule allows to ensure that you get into the classes that you want/need to take. Classes fill up very quickly. If you are signing up for classes for the spring semester or you are an upper classman, sign up for classes as soon as your "enrollment date" allows.
  9. Refer to RateMyProfessors.com. At this site, you can search potential professors names to find out how other students would rate them based on easiness, helpfulness, and clarity, as well as other personal comments. It's extremely helpful and worth taking a look!

A lot goes into consideration when selecting courses for enrollment, however I hope that you find my tips helpful and that they save you from a lot of stress. Good luck!

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About The Author
Leah Stacy

Indiana University Class of 2017. Psychology major.