Course Selection at Dartmouth
Course selection is a surprisingly exciting part of the term at Dartmouth. Because the Dartmouth community is made up of intellectually curious students who are always eager to learn something new, deciding what topics and courses to explore and study for the next ten weeks can be very exciting. However, with over forty departments and programs each offering several interesting classes every term, and the quarter system only allowing students to take two to four classes each term, you have to be quite strategic when picking classes. I just completed my third course selection at Dartmouth last week, and I think I've developed my own formula for picking classes at Dartmouth that I'd love to share with you.
First, I pick a class that I need to fulfill one of Dartmouth's general academic requirements for graduation which are the first-year writing requirement, the distributive requirement, and the world culture requirement. This year, I have been focused on fulfilling the first-year writing requirements. So far, I've met the first half of these requirements through the writing class I took last term as well as the writing class I'm taking this term. In the upcoming spring term, I plan to complete the second half of this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the art history department. First-year seminars are small writing-intensive classes offered by various departments and programs at Dartmouth.
Next, I usually select a course that fulfills a more specific requirement for programs at Dartmouth. It could be a prerequisite for a major I'm interested in or for a study-abroad program. In the fall term, I took an introductory calculus class because it is a prerequisite for the economics major. This winter term, I'm taking a public policy class that is a requirement for an internship I'm applying for this summer. Next term, I'm taking a statistics class that is also a requirement for the summer internship.
Lastly (and this is the most fun part), I pick a class that just seems really fun and interesting to me. Several departments offer so many interesting classes with no prerequisites that are open to all class years, so there's always an opportunity to take a fun and random class. There's nothing quite like taking a class solely because you're interested in it. In the fall term, I took a biological anthropology class that completely and unexpectedly changed the way I view human society. This term, I'm taking a mathematical economics that applies those concepts we learn in calculus classes to the study of economics in very interesting ways.
It's also important to remember that this is not a rigid steadfast formula. The categories overlap sometimes and a class that fulfills a requirement can also be a class you really enjoy. For example, the public policy class I'm taking is a really fun class that I would have taken at some point even if I was not applying for the internship. No matter what class you take, you'll always have a good time because Dartmouth is a community of brilliant faculty and students who make learning fun and worthwhile.
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