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Planning Your College Semesters from the First One to the Last

Planning your college courses from the very beginning all the way to the end is a complicated task, which requires an ability to look in the future and select a path. While this exercise is quite challenging, such a road map will help you ensure you are on your way to achieve your goals. It is not supposed to provide all the answers, but it should help you get started.

Freshman Year

First Semester

Take general education requirements. They are made up of the same subjects as your core classes were in high school. Get them out of the way so that there is an opportunity to concentrate on courses for your major as soon as you decide what it will be.

Second Semester

If you took AP or IB classes in high school and performed well on the associated exams, there is a chance that you have earned some college credits for your scores. Sometimes they take the place of your general education requirements, while they can also be applied only toward electives. If your school applies AP or IB credits toward the general education requirements, you can take something else in their place. You have a great chance to take an elective n a topic that interests you.

Start exploring some majors that interest you to find out what their requirements are. Typically, colleges list the specific course requirements for every major on their websites. You should find out when the classes you are interested in are offered and see if you will have to take any prerequisite courses before signing up for these classes.

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Sophomore Year

First Semester

Finish any general education requirements. These courses should be excluded from your schedule so you are able to concentrate on those required for your major and those on topics that you want to learn more about.

Take electives in topics that you want to learn more about and use them to explore subjects you are considering for a major.

Think if you would like to study abroad or complete an internship. Typically, they happen during the semester, but it is necessary to start applying early to make sure you will get a position. Study abroad programs are usually offered during the school year, so you will have to plan everything thoroughly, especially if the program you are interested in is not in the same field as your major.

Second Semester

Pick two to three majors you are leaning toward and figure out more details about the graduation requirements for each. Note if any are especially rigid or have requirements that may necessitate special planning. Usually, schools require students to declare their major this semester.

If you already know a professor that you like in your major, find out if you can request them to be your academic advisor.

Take elective classes for your major.

Junior Year

First Semester

Start taking core requirements for the major you have chosen, if you have not already. If there are any requirements that are prerequisites for another required course, it is necessary to take them first. Otherwise, you will not be able to register for a course.

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This semester, you should plan out any study abroad, research, or thesis project activities. If you are required to submit applications, make sure to get them done in time.

Second Semester

Take classes that fulfill the prerequisites for upper-level core requirements for your core major.

Take electives if you have not completed them already.

Senior Year

First Semester

Complete the core requirements for your major.

Second Semester

Complete all the required courses. You may only require credits rather than specific courses to complete your degree requirements. In such a case, take something you like. College is the time you have the most opportunities to explore, so use this last semester to try something fun.

With an established plan for your coursework, it will be much easier for you to keep on track in college. Do not forget that you should not get so focused on your major that you forget to take some classes you are interested in along outside of your major. By learning about multiple subjects, you become a more well-rounded person. Additionally, you may discover a new passion or hobby.