Advice for Course Registration from Department Chairs

Advice for Course Registration from Department Chairs

This past Monday October 19th, the Spring 2016 course offerings master schedule came out. Students all over were talking about what classes they wanted to take, and looking to see if they would fit together in one schedule. Next week begins advising week, and the following week starts course registration. For some people this might be their 8th time registering, and for others it might only be their second.  With this in mind I recently reached out to various department chairs to see if they had advice for registering for courses.

Advice from Peter Von Allmen, Economics Department Chair:

General Advice for all Students:

  •  “Independent of the discipline, I always encourage students to make the most of every semester when it comes to choosing classes.” 

Advice for his Advises:

  • “I remind my advisees that over the course of their college career they will have the opportunity to take maybe 34 or 35 classes and that once they graduate, they will never have that opportunity again.  I ask them to think about classes as golden tickets- a valuable and scarce resource that they have to spend wisely. I’m always disappointed when I hear graduating seniors or alums say “I wish I had taken the opportunity to study X”.  Take that opportunity while you have it.”

Advice Specific for Students Studying Economics:

  • “I encourage first-year students and sophomores to get started on the introductory classes in our department.  Economics is not a course intensive major, but it’s still good to get started if for no other reason than to confirm your interest, or not. I also encourage interested students to complete the calculus requirement in their first two or three semesters.  Delaying calculus can block a student’s ability to register for intermediate level theory classes. ”

Advice from Eliza Kent, Religious Studies Department Chair:

General Advice for all Students:

  • “The best advice I can give for students now starting to plan for the spring is that if you’re curious about a class, go ahead and email the professor in advance of registration to ask for a syllabus from the last time it was offered.   This will not only give you a good idea of the work load and topics, but also a sense for the “arc” of the class – what kind of logic has gone into structuring how all the pieces of the course will fit together.  Most Skidmore professors put a lot of effort into writing their syllabi; you can learn a lot about a course by reading it.”

 

Advice from David Peterson, Art Department Chair:

General Advice for all Students:

  • “I think that my best advice would be for students to begin early to consider all of the possibilities.  Don’t over-focus on requirements.  Attend to them, sure, but don’t overlook the incredible range of courses available to you outside of your major.”
  • “Electives are far more valuable to your growth than we tend to acknowledge. College is a quick four years, and once it’s over, you may never have the chance to do the interesting sorts of things we make available each and every semester.”
  • “Almost all faculty members are quite human, and quite humane, and will happily entertain questions about courses, prerequisites, etc.  Speaking locally, many studio art courses have no prerequisites, and those that do typically have a provision for faculty to waive the prerequisite if the student has appropriate experience, or is just very good in the art of persuasion.  The main thing is to speak directly with the specific faculty member, face-to-face, as opposed to screen-to-screen; that’s the best way to have a conversation that results in a win-win for all sides.”

Overall, it is clear that faculty want you to be happy in the classes you choose, and to know all about them before signing up. Take the advice from the above faculty, reach out to those faculty-teaching classes you really want to know more about, and lastly take classes you want to take. Check back next week for more advice from faculty on course registration. In the meantime don’t forget to schedule your advising appointments with your advisor.  

 

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