By Blanka Stepankova
The process of picking your post-secondary courses can be challenging because there are a plethora of aspects to consider. To make the process less confusing, I will show you useful tips to help you plan and build your semester schedules. Then you can find a collection of courses that suit your academic interests and goals!
If the information of class days and times are available prior to the registration date, then create a mock schedule. Whether your PSI offers a student class hub/platform schedule builder, or you decide to take the pen-and-paper route, building a timetable can help you shape your academic year.
Remember Your Niche
Choose whichever topics interest you and fit your niche(s). Let the heart (and the mind, of course) want what it does, and make a list of subjects you do well in to help narrow post-secondary courses. Also, keep your program/degree requirements in mind.
Your Schedule and Balance
Consider a school/work/life balance. Straining yourself in one area isn’t healthy and can lead to burnout. When planning your post-secondary courses, include time for yourself and the things you love doing. Additionally, many of us are not morning people. Therefore, if you are part of this group, then avoid the 8 AM classes. If possible. On the flip side, if you work best in the evenings, choose those. And please don’t forget to plan break times in between for lunch or downtime. Scheduling in time for eating, resting, and writing assignments is highly beneficial.
Try Something New
Have you wanted to try astronomy, conservation sciences, or translation courses? Give them a go! You never know what your new-found interest will lead to in terms of your future career.
Look at Requirements
Which prerequisites do you need for these post-secondary courses? Can you take a placement test to determine the level you should take? Moreover, knowing the essential courses for your program/degree can make planning your schedule easier.
Travel Between Campuses
On the occasion that you need to travel between campuses for class, include adequate time for transit or driving. These times may also be prolonged or shortened depending on weather conditions. Therefore, planning extra time can lead to less stress.
Register as soon as possible on the enrolment date. (Check the time zone if it differs from yours!) Often, students will do this simultaneously and the website servers can get full. Being on the website beforehand will ensure your schedule is exactly the way you want!
Pro-tip: Writing to someone in the Registration/Enrolment Department about the way the PSI’s website is set up and what you should do regarding reloading pages, or signing on, can make a huge difference.
Stay Positive and Breathe
If you wish to change your mind about these post-secondary courses, you are not doomed. PSI’s will almost always offer opportunities to change your courses. Additionally, if a class you wished to register in is filled, you can sign up for a ‘Watch List’. Therefore, if someone drops the class, you’ll be notified. Remember to breathe, and think positively. Nothing is set in ‘stone’ until about 3-5 months after the enrolment date, which is posted on your school’s website.
Credits and Requirements
Oftentimes, your desired program, major, or minor will have specific credit requirements, such as English/Writing, Language Other Than English (LOE), or other faculty courses. In addition, credit/course requirements for majors and minors are important to plan.
Alongside requirements, designated credits leveled 100-400 for your undergraduate degree are stated. Be sure to take them during your first or second year, if possible.
# of Courses
At many post-secondary institutions, a minimum of 3 courses are needed per semester for the ‘full-time’ student status, so you are eligible for programs such as on-campus residence and meal plans. Check your university’s policy to determine your course load. It is also helpful to think about the transition to university/college and how many post-secondary courses you wish to take. Often, if you take 3 or 4 per semester, the institution will allow you to do extra years to complete your degree. And summer classes are an option too!
To help your enrolment process go smoothly, complete necessary in-person or online placement tests (another language, mathematics, etc.).
Additional Academic Certificates
Collecting an Academic Certificate along with your degree can provide a head start in the workplace, which your employer may view as a strong asset due to field experience. Some examples of these certificates include a focus on leadership, cultures and languages, linguistics, ethics, economics, and finance.
In the case that you wish to pursue graduate studies, look at the prerequisite courses that the program requires, as well as the minimum GPA and potential entrance exam (LSAT, MCAT, etc).
I hope this list helps you choose post-secondary courses, so you can accomplish your academic endeavors!