Choosing the ideal amount of units

Choosing the ideal amount of units

Registration for the spring 2016 semester is coming up, folks — and with it comes the endless anxiety over selecting classes, thereby predetermining or, at the very least, predicting your workload in the not-so-distant future.
So, how should one determine how many units are ideal? First, take a look at your CAPP degree evaluation and consider your four-year plan.
Are you on track to graduate? Or have you recently switched majors or added a minor, which has the potential to extend your stay? If so, are you opposed to taking summer courses?
Carefully take elements like these into consideration when selecting classes. Also, contemplate how you would like to structure your semesters — would you rather fulfill all of your general education requirements early on, or would you prefer to dive headfirst into your interests? Would you rather plan one really difficult semester followed by an easier one, or would you rather balance the exertion across the board?
Peppering each semester’s schedule with a few classes from each category seems to be a popular choice, although others report success from either end of the spectrum.
The benefits of getting your GEs out of the way include the ability to focus on upper-division courses when you are a more mature and prepared student, while the benefits of starting out with major requirements include the ability to determine early on whether you truly enjoy your field of study, allowing time for change before it’s too late.
Of course, selecting a few of each ensures that you further your degree while still getting to enroll in courses that interest you each semester.
Whichever route you take, make sure to carefully deliberate upon your time management skills, as well as your academic strengths and weaknesses.
When determining next semester’s units, you should also be wary of your projected workload.
Getting a bunch of boring degree requirements out of the way all at once may sound awesome in theory — until you’re loaded down with multiple labs and a mindlessly long mid-afternoon philosophy lecture.
On the flip side, if you’re looking for a challenge and have carefully considered your workload and degree requirements, talk to your advisor about getting an override if necessary — especially if you really want to enroll in one course that won’t be offered again in the foreseeable future.
But be ready to commit. Adding one or two units might not sound like much at first, but when it’s one or two more courses, the workload piles up fast. Not to mention the fact that an overload incurs an additional fee — so prepare to put your money where your mouth is.
All in all, selecting your ideal number of units and range of classes is a highly personal decision, and one you shouldn’t take lightly. Consider soliciting advice from your advisor, favorite professors and fellow students.
Ultimately, be honest about your academic and extracurricular goals for the upcoming semester, and only commit to what you realistically believe will be accomplishable.

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