It's always best to consult with an academic adviser before you finalize your first-year college course selections, but you can usually focus on general education requirements and classes geared toward freshmen. If you have not yet chosen a major, some first-term courses may help you decide. Freshman year is an adjustment period, so most colleges offer a wide range of classes to appeal to different interests and strengths.
English Composition or Writing
Most college majors require at least one English composition course. This course can hone your writing skills and give you an idea of what college instructors expect. Many colleges, such as the University of California at Davis, require students to meet an entry-level writing requirement. Those who score low on a college placement exam in writing or English might be required or advised to take a developmental writing course, such as the one at Boise State University. A freshman writing class also prepares you for more advanced coursework, such as writing science laboratory reports, social science essays, humanities papers and business research projects.
Even if your intended major doesn't require it, foreign language courses often satisfy core requirements. For example, foreign language classes satisfy the University of Washington's visual, literary and performing arts requirement that many of the university's colleges have. If you studied a foreign language in high school, you can continue with the same language and take the next level or choose a new language that interests you. Studying a foreign language shows that you are willing to try new subjects and have a desire to be culturally aware.
Math and Science
You may opt for a math or science course, or both, if you plan to pursue a degree in science, math, engineering, business, technology or computer science. These degree programs typically require a series of progressive math and science courses, often involving laboratory requirements and participation in recitations -- small discussion groups. Taking one or both of these subjects will give you a jump-start, so you don't feel overloaded with advanced math and science courses your sophomore, junior and senior years.
Introduction to a Major
You can take an introductory course in a field of study you're considering for your major. For example, if you're considering a career as a psychologist, you could take Psychology 101, or if you're interested in becoming a lawyer, take an entry-level criminal justice class. Introductory-level courses give you a good sense of whether you want to pursue more coursework or a degree in that area. These courses also give you a chance to meet classmates who have similar interests.
Freshman Interest Group or Seminar
Many colleges offer a course to help freshmen adjust to college academics. For example, Wellesley College in Massachusetts offers a diverse First-Year Seminar program that introduces students to basics in a given field, such as biology, chemistry, business, political science, foreign language or anthropology, and provides insight about more advanced work. These courses have limited enrollment, so there's a low student-to-teacher ratio.
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