Mastering UIS: How to Really Pick Classes


top. I want you to stop digging through your course catalog and pulling your hair out because you held off choosing your courses till the last second. If you thought picking a major is difficult, then welcome to the ninth concentric circle of Dante Alighieri’s inferno. Picking courses is daunting, but like always, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when you are deciding what courses to take for the upcoming semester. 

Consider the professor first

Finding the right professor is key to picking the right course. While a lot of people stress about how easy or hard a certain course will be, it really depends on what kind of professor you get. For example, I took Introduction to Drawing because I thought it would be an easy A. There were three sections for the course, and I decided to go with the section that was open and fit my schedule. This was a terrible decision. Not only did I walk into the course with no foundation in drawing, but the professor also had high expectations for us, making the course even more difficult. In short, it doesn’t matter how easy people say a certain course is. The course becomes easier if you and the professor have a like-minded idea about learning. Boston College gives you the flexibility to choose for yourself what fits you and doesn’t fit you. Be mindful of that and remember that the professor matters when it comes to choosing your courses. If you want to pick the right professors based upon student opinion, then it will be helpful to…..

Read course evaluations 

BC has a very handy tool called course evaluations. On the Agora Portal, there is a tab called “Course Evaluations” under the Academics and Courses section. When you click on that tab, it will lead you to a new page. On the top right hand corner, there is a link that allows you to “View Student Course Evaluation Results.” When you type a certain professor’s name or course title in the search bar that pops up on the next page, you get a list of course titles and professors that match what you searched for. Here, you will find averages of scores that students have given either the professor or the course. The scores are out of 5, so this can help you determine whether or not students enjoyed the course and the professor’s teaching. Be aware that some students might not take these course evaluations seriously, so my next tip would be….

Ask fellow students for their opinions

Asking your fellow peers and students about the classes they’ve taken is always helpful. They will most likely give you the most objective opinion about their courses and help you decide which are actually helpful and which are just another migraine waiting to happen. With BC focused on a liberal arts education, it might be difficult to determine the best way to fulfill your art or theology requirements. Upperclassmen are the best resource to use in this case. They have most likely completed their core and can help you decide which professors and which courses are best to fulfill certain requirements. 

Consider core requirements, then major requirements 

Core requirements are necessary for you to graduate. I suggest finishing your core requirements first, so that you are not a senior taking intermediate Spanish. Not only will you feel like you’re wasting your time, but you probably won’t be giving it your 100 percent. For a lot of majors, Also, BC also gives you more than enough time to fulfill your major requirements. Of course, there are certain majors that have less room in their schedule to explore. Overall, thought, the leniency that BC gives allows for you to explore other majors and still finish the major requirement in time. Be mindful of this, and know that it’s better to get the core requirements out of the way first so that you can really enjoy learning about the areas or fields you are actually interested in later on. 

Choose courses you actually want to take

Finally, don’t feel pressured to always just take courses you need to take. Personally, I’ve realized that even though I am on a tight schedule, I can always manage to take courses that suit my own personal interests as well. Not only does this give me a greater incentive to learn, but it makes my college experience more enjoyable. Take courses that will both challenge you and engage you as a learner. Just because you are a political science major doesn’t mean you can’t take a film course. Taking chances and introducing yourself to new classes can potentially open up new doors and interests for you. College is supposed to be a time where you sort things out at a pace that fits you. Use picking your courses as a way to encourage that motive of figuring out what you actually enjoy doing with life. 

Graphic Courtesy of Allyson Mozeliak / Heights Editor

Nathan Lee

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