Freshman College Schedules, Ease In
We overheard some students planning their freshman college schedule.
“I got a 5 on the AP Bio exam, so I’m placing out of Bio 100 and am taking a harder class.”
“I crushed the math placement test and am jumping ahead to take the most advanced Calc class I can.”
“I’m going to take 18 credits my first semester to get a bunch of requirements out of the way.”
In high school, we encourage students to push themselves and to take the hardest class they can, because rigor of curriculum is important to selective college admissions. But the exact opposite is true for college freshmen. Go easy the first year as you acclimate to all the changes.
GPA really matters
If you need a certain GPA to get into the business school or into a particular engineering major at your university, overreaching your freshman year can actually harm your chances of being accepted into your desired program. It’s better to excel in the required classes than to get a B or lower in a higher level class.
Graduate schools care how well you do
GPA can also impact your internship and post-graduate plans. Many finance and some consulting internships ask for your GPA, so digging out from a low freshman GPA can hurt your chances of getting an interview.
Law School, MBA and Medical school acceptance is highly dependent on GPA and LSAT/GMAT/MCAT scores. Again, it’s hard to recover from poor grades freshman year.
Learn introductory material the college way
Many subjects build on concepts covered in introductory classes. If you’re interested in being a math or physics major at a highly selective college, you may be better served building your knowledge base by taking the first level math course rather than the one you placed into because you got a 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam.
Don’t overload your plate
It’s tempting to take a full load of classes that interest you, but be mindful that multiple concurrent lab sciences and/or multiple reading and writing intensive classes may be too challenging.
First semester freshman year is an adjustment for everyone, so don’t make it harder on yourself than necessary. Give yourself space to try out clubs, meet new people, and get acclimated to your new environment.
Once you adjust to the level of college work, you’ll be better able to make informed course selections in the future.