Classes, How-to, Student Life

Course Selection: How To Win The Race

One of the most stressful and exciting moments that I’ve ever encountered at U of T is course selection. The whole process is a race. Adrenaline pumping, your mouse hovering over the enrollment button, droplets of sweat forming, staring at the clock as the hour hand slowly approaches your start time, and when it does… BAM! You are racing down the track to the finish line aka enrolling in all your required and preferred courses with the best schedule that you want. Unfortunately, just like in a race you can trip, fall, and stumble… HARD! Nothing is more worse than anticipating in enrolling in a course you really wanted to take at a specific time and there is a waitlist of 50 people or more. Or that two of your courses have a conflict and you have to rearrange all your hard work. For my fellow first year students the whole process is fresh and overwhelming. Within this blog I’m going to enlighten you on the mistakes I’ve made and the lessons that I’ve learned from course selection and how you can create the best desirable schedule.

A picture of a race track and field race track

Course selection can be a competitive race
Picture from http://frrpd.com/track-and-field/

Degree Explorer is your new best friend
When entering university we have some idea of what we want to pursue. Whether if it’s Molecular Biology or Sociology or Economics each program has a set of prerequisites that are required in order to progress in the degree. Therefore, it is extremely important that you research the courses you need to take ahead of time so you can start planning your schedule. Degree Explorer is a very useful tool when finding the courses you need to take for your degree and how many Full Course Equivalents (FCE’s) that is required. It lays out the all the courses you need to take as well as tracks the progress of the degree that you are enrolled in.

Talk to your registrar
Believe it or not, not a lot of people visit their registrars. They help you achieve the goals that you want and guide you onto the right path. During the summer before first year, I was very confused about which course is the best to take for my program and the registrar assisted by suggesting courses and explaining information about the program I never knew before. Take advantage of your college affiliated registrars because they really do want you to succeed and are willing to go the extra mile to see it happen. Additionally, ask upper year students for advise and suggestions regarding the course. It will definitely make your life easier knowing that that one elective you really wanted is actually a difficult course.

A Picture of an agenda

It can be a lit of creating your schedule
Picture from http://www.clickx.be/windows/138704/outlook-agenda/

Use the U of T Timetable

Once you are sure about the courses then it’s on to the fun part…creating your desired school schedule! This part is exciting because you have control on the way you want your everyday life to be. The Course Listing website allows you to search your desired course and look at the times they offer for each course. When it comes to making the schedule it’s like a jigsaw puzzle, you have to find the right piece to fit in the overall picture. This process takes time so don’t wait for the last minute or it would be frustrating when you are actually enrolling. The one mistake that I made was not making two schedules in case that there was ever a waitlist. I got waitlisted for most of my classes with times that I wanted. By making a second schedule it wouldn’t have been so stressful to rearrange the schedule.

Overall course selection is not easy. It’s a race with thousands of competitors in the same heat so it can be quite overwhelming. Thus researching, planning, and creating more than one schedule is important in handling the stress and frustration. However, don’t forget you have the control of your life and it’s pretty special. After one click you are closer to starting or finishing (for my upper years) university which can be pretty exciting.