Embarking on a college education is an exciting adventure with bountiful options and possibilities. The first two years are a time of self-discovery that will give you a solid footing for advanced study. Depending on your interests and skills, you may plunge into a major, or take time to explore majors through general education classes and electives. Colleges offer resources that can help you find the path that’s right for you.
Correcting Academic Deficits
After being accepted into college, you’ll take placement exams to determine your level of readiness for subjects such as math, reading and English. If your scores are low, you may be assigned to a remedial class that can sharpen your skills to help you compete with students who are better prepared for college. Students who fail a class sometimes enroll in a development course before retaking the class they couldn’t pass, especially if it’s a requirement for their major or graduation. Tutors are also available on most campuses.
Student Success Seminars
Many schools encourage or require participation in a class designed to help freshmen and sophomores acclimate to college life. Course content focuses on enhancing writing, speaking and critical thinking skills as a foundation for more advanced study. Other topics commonly discussed include time management, note-taking strategies, study skills, choosing a major and accessing support services. At schools such as Appalachian State University, students with fewer than 30 credits enroll in a seminar that includes an introduction to research methods.
Completing General Education
Whether your goal is an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, you must take general education classes intended to make you a well-rounded person with an expanded worldview. Courses in English, speech and writing are essential because college-educated professionals need strong written and oral communication skills. In addition, you will learn about applications of math and science to everyday life. You will also be required to study human civilization through courses such as history, arts and humanities, sociology, psychology, anthropology and cultural diversity.
Selecting a Major
Taking classes that sound really interesting to you can help you discover a major and a career goal during your first two years of college. For example, enrolling in an introductory psychology class could help you decide if you might like to be a psychologist. Majors in fields such as science, technology, engineering and math require students to take certain courses within the major starting the first semester of the freshman year. Talking to an advisor is highly recommended before selecting classes each semester.
Learning Outside the Classroom
Extracurricular involvement can enrich the college experience and provide an opportunity for students to apply what they are learning in the classroom. By engaging in campus life you can meet people, have fun, and learn about yourself and the world. For example, the University of Kentucky suggests volunteering, study abroad, research activities and planning for internships during the junior and senior year. There are also many clubs and student organizations to consider.
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