A Reflection on My First Course Selection
Prior to the first week of classes, a few Undergraduate Deans organized virtual sessions for the '24s (first-year students) in order to give a rundown of what this process was like. We received a comprehensive packet of what areas of study Dartmouth has to offer, what kinds of classes we can take, and some requirements we had to fulfill. In regards to requirements, you must complete a language sequence, first-year writing courses, world culture courses, and "distributives". This distributive requirement allows you to expand your breadth of knowledge, requiring you to complete courses in the arts, literature, physical sciences, and more! When starting our first course selection journey, I was advised to look at what I was interested in, but not completely isolate myself from other subjects. We don't have to declare our major until sophomore year, why not go exploring?
First, I took some placement exams. You can place into higher courses by taking placement exams or using AP/IB scores. I took the Spanish placement exam and received an exemption for the language requirement, and used AP credit to place out of Intro to Calculus. I also took the biology placement exam which does not offer any formal placement, it is more so a tool for students to decide what courses to take first. There are other placement exams offered such as physics, computer science, and languages!
A few days before the official course selection date, I met with my dean, faculty advisor (everyone is assigned one!), and upperclassmen to help me finalize a course list. There was never a lack of help and I felt guided every step of the way. On course selection day, I met with my advisor and we checked off Intro to Neuroscience, a first-year writing course, and Intro to Biological Anthropology. Afterward, we had to wait until the evening to see our "official" courses. What this means is that because other students are checking off the courses you want as well, it might reach max capacity. That night I checked the website and realized I had all of my courses except the neuro course. That's when "Add/Drop" was revealed to me.
I woke up early and stared at the website until it was 8:00 am, which is when I could select courses again. The catch? This time it was first come first serve. My alarm rang and I rushed to go see if anyone had dropped neuro, but it was still full. So instead, I selected a general chemistry course and was satisfied. Though this is technically your "official schedule", students still have an opportunity during the first two weeks of the term to add or drop classes as they see fit.
Well, that's freshman course selection for you! It sometimes is overwhelming, but with the massive support I received from Dartmouth staff, it was easy as strolling the Green.
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