Freshman 101: Scheduling Classes
Scheduling classes can be confusing for incoming freshmen. It’s hard to navigate the logistics of LionPATH even with the help of advisors and NSO leaders there to guide you.
By the time you’ll need to schedule your classes for the spring semester, you’ll know what to expect and see how it becomes more competitive as time goes on to get into specific classes. But what about that first semester?
Here’s what to know before scheduling your classes.
When Do I Schedule?
Whether it’s for summer session, fall semester, or both, scheduling happens on your second day of New Student Orientation. What college you’re in will determine where you go to schedule your classes.
Before scheduling, you’ll meet with an advisor from your respective college to discuss what classes you’ll take. This is a good time to share any future plans you have (i.e. studying abroad, attending grad school, etc.) with your advisor at NSO.
This will be the last thing you’ll have to do after a long two days at NSO, and then you get to go home sweet home. You’ll probably be worn out at this point and hoping to get things over with, but power through and at least try to pick things you can see yourself taking an interest in — which is easier said than done when most classes are already filled by upperclassmen.
How Do I Schedule?
All students schedule their classes in LionPATH. After logging in with your credentials, you’ll end up on the homepage. Under the “Quick Links” section, select “Class Search.”
From there, you choose the semester, campus, and course subject you’re taking for the semester. After clicking “search,” available classes for the course you selected will appear. You can select a class by adding it to your shopping cart on LionPATH.
Once you’ve selected all of your classes, click on the shopping cart to finish enrolling in all of your classes. If a green check mark shows up beside a course, you’ve successfully enrolled in that class. But if a red “X” shows up beside a course, you’ll need to choose a different class.
Schedule Builder is another nifty tool you can use. It allows you to test out combinations of classes that fit together. You can export these to your shopping cart and then enroll as explained above.
How Many Gen Eds Do I Have To Complete?
Incoming freshmen, you’re in luck. There’s a new general education planning tool that helps you make sure you meet all your general education requirements. The tool also lets you know what general education requirements you’ve already met.
General education requirements were changed in 2018, which made scheduling classes more complicated. However, this tool has made it easier for incoming and current students. While it’s not a replacement for an advisor, it is still helpful for students.
To get you up to speed on some terms you should know, students are required to take six credits of integrative studies in addition to other core requirements. Integrative studies can be either interdomain or linked general education courses. Interdomain courses integrate two different general education requirements such as science and humanities into one unique class. Linked courses are multiple courses taken together but in different subjects that have similar focuses and complement each other.
Helpful Tips To Keep In Mind
It’s hard as a freshman to know what works best when planning your schedule for the upcoming semester because everything is new. Unfortunately, it’s all a part of the learning process. Here are some tips to know about picking classes.
- Use RateMyProfessor. Professors can make or break your final grade in a course. The site gives you an idea of what to expect and whether it’s worth taking the course. But keep in mind that it’s important to take the extreme reviews with a grain of salt. Students normally write about only their very bad or very good experiences. Go forth at your own discretion.
- Pick your class times wisely. There are way more factors to consider while picking your classes now versus when you did so in high school. Waking up at 8 a.m. is much different in college than it was in high school. If you’re planning on going home for the weekend, choose classes that end early on Fridays. Night classes are a thing in college. Can you see yourself sitting through a 6-9? Also, remember to give yourself enough time to walk across campus and in between classes. As you have seen this place is huge, and the usual 15 minutes isn’t always enough if you’re going from the Walker Building to the Business Building.
- Try to get general education courses out of the way early. Mandatory courses like CAS 100 and ENGL 15 can drag on especially if they don’t pertain to your major. Taking them in right away is also a great way to meet freshmen just like you adjusting to college life and academics.
- Know you won’t always get the classes you want. Sometimes it just happens that all the spots in that one class you really wanted get filled up instantly. It might not happen right away, but it’s bound to happen — especially when you’re one of the last people scheduling.
Scheduling classes can a get little tricky, but hopefully, these tips will help prepare you for a first semester that is interesting and hopefully not THAT challenging.
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About the Author
Three teams ahead of Penn State in last week’s AP Top 25 poll lost, so the Nittany Lions moved up to No. 12 this week.
Penn State’s (potentially) elite defense and inconsistent offense have stood out through three games played this year.
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