Introduction

Choosing Your Courses for the First Time! 

Choosing Your Courses for the First Time! 

It was only a year ago that I was an incoming freshmen, so when I say I “remember feeling anxious and nervous about choosing my courses” I actually mean it. It was literally only twelve months ago. I remember the uneasiness of not knowing which courses to take, the anxiety of waiting to find out your start time, and that feeling of disappointment when you don’t get into a class you really wanted to take.

But I’m here to tell you I survived, and you will too! I ensure you that it’s not as daunting as it seems, but you’re also not crazy for being anxious about it. I hear rumours that even the mystical fourth years (who often seen to us like they have this whole University thing down pat) get nervous and anxious too.

I survived course selection and even made it to my first day of class. (where I was clearly more concerned with getting the perfect instagram picture, I couldn't even remember how scary course selection had been!)
I survived course selection and even made it to my first day of class. (where I was clearly too concerned with getting the perfect instagram picture, I couldn’t even remember how scary course selection had been!)

So while this post won’t secure your a coveted early morning time slot, or help you choose between Intro to Mythology and Introduction to Physical Geography, here’s what I learned from going through course selection for the first time.

#1: Do Your Research! 

Course selection is different for every faculty, and even every program, so depending on what you’re studying plan to make one of the following websites your new best friend;

I learned the hard way that there’s nothing worse than spending the entire night before course selection trying to navigate through subjects and choose your courses! Get familiar with the calendar and write down the course codes of any and all the courses that interest you. You can go back and narrow down this list later, but it helps to feel comfortable navigating the abyss that is the U of T course calendar.

#2: Make a draft schedule! And then another… And then another… 

You can never have too many schedule options! Using tools like Griddy, or even just an excel document on your computer, make your perfect schedule. Now repeat this same process, but using almost entirely different courses. Now repeat this again. And again.

Griddy is an awesome tool that helps you plan our your schedule! Check it out by clicking this picture
Griddy is an awesome tool that helps you plan our your schedule! Check it out by clicking on this picture

I tried to have about four different variations of what my schedule and courses could look like. And while they got less and less appealing (the last schedule I made consisted of courses I would only take if I had to) I ended up with something in between my first and last choice.

#3: Check your times and set an alarm! 

Arts & Science students can use this webpage to find when their start time will appear on ROSI (ROSI will add another menu option on the left hand side of the page that says “view start time”).

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Once you have your start time, make sure to set a couple of alarms in case you need to get up early – or stop what you’re doing in the middle of the day. I know a lot of people also book off their course selection day from work. This may be a good option if you don’t have a flexible work environment with access to a computer and internet

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#4: Do the Prep Work! 

While it might seem a little crazy, last year I set up a work station. I laid out my essentials; a computer, a print-out of my potential schedules (a calendar version and a list of the course codes), and a list of some other courses that I could use as fillers and back-ups.

Then I made sure my computer is fully charged, my wifi connection was strong, and I began to brave course selection.

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I think I just really like organized work stations…

This is how I survived first year course selection, and it’s how I plan to survive again this year. Hopefully I was able to de-bunk some of the course selection myths, and give you a couple tips and resources to make the whole process go easier. If you still have questions, don’t forget that there are hundreds of resources out there designed to help you through this! You can always call or email your registrartalk to your program sponsor, or even check out tools like FastAnswers (for A&S students) where you can type in questions or choose from the most frequently asked!

How do you prepare for course selection? Is there anything I’m missing that I should add to my regime this year? Maybe some extensive finger stretching and strengthening in preparation? Or an ergonomic keyboard that allows me to type my course code 0.01 seconds faster? Leave them in the comments below or share them with me on twitter at @Rachael_UofT

2 comments on “Choosing Your Courses for the First Time! 

  1. Hello!
    What start time did you get first year?
    My main problem right now is the start time.
    I actually some courses I’m actually required to take and I really hope I get into them all.

    1. Hey Castiel –

      I was lucky and had a mid-morning start time in first year, so I got into all of my courses! But another member of the crew had a really late start time (she swears she was the very last slot) and she got into every single course she needed to!

      Just have a couple back-ups, sometimes there are alternatives to required courses, and stay positive! First year courses are usually very large, so there’s a good chance you’ll get into the courses you need.

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