a student exploring classes to take first year of college

Set Yourself Up for Success: What Classes to Take Your Freshman Year in College

Many students begin their college journey without knowing what it is they want to do in the future. Undecided or undeclared majors are very common, and shouldn’t hamper a student’s freshman year experience. Instead, being undeclared gives students the opportunity to figure out where their passions and interests lie. During their freshman year, students can take a variety of classes to set them up for success and ensure they still graduate in four years’ time. Required general education courses that are versatile to any major, for example, include Communications, Business Studies, Public Speaking, and more. If you’re deciding which classes to take your freshman year in college, here are a few subject areas you should consider checking off the list.

Before You Start

Before you even begin the registration process, look into which classes can be waived with your AP or IB scores. Many schools will grant students academic credit for AP scores of 4 or higher. If you’re an undecided major, using AP or IB scores to get a few required general education credits out of the way can be a good way to open up your class schedule for exploring your interests.

Introductory Math and Science Courses
Taking required math and science courses during your freshman year in college is a highly strategic move. If you end up deciding you want to enter a math-heavy field such as engineering, computer science, or business analytics, you’ll need to take multiple, high-level math courses. These credits can take several semesters to complete, as they usually have prerequisites. Additionally, if you are potentially interested in a healthcare or health science major, biology and chemistry prerequisites will be critical. Getting your basic math and science courses done early, during your freshman year, can open up your schedule for other field-focused courses down the line, keeping you on track to finish your degree in four years.

Foreign Languages
Some schools require students to take a foreign language. However, whether or not your school requires foreign language credits, you should consider enrolling. The study of foreign languages not only provides students with new language skills but also gives them an understanding and respect for other cultures and people. Learning a new language expands your worldview and gives you new insights. Isn’t that what college should be about? Plus, no matter what career path you end up choosing, being fluent or semi-fluent in a foreign language will automatically give you a competitive edge in the employment market.

English 101
No matter what major you end up choosing, you will need to have completed a composition and rhetoric course before being allowed to enter higher-level seminar courses. Not only will taking this class open up the possibility for taking upper-level courses, but it will train you in college-level writing and research. These are two skills you simply can’t do without when it comes to succeeding in college.

If you’ve always wanted to take piano or learn how to write a song, taking a music elective during your freshman year can be a great opportunity. Plus, music is a known stress-reliever. The transition from the working world or high school into college can be discombobulating and stress-inducing. Consider how taking a class, such as Fundamentals of Piano, can help you make the most of your college experience. Taking a music elective can provide you with new skills, an appreciation for the arts, and a way to explore your creative side while in school.

Humanities Courses
Nearly all colleges require their students to complete credits in the humanities. These courses can include Philosophy, History, Music Appreciation, or even History of Cinema. While it’s important to consider how a humanities course can potentially fulfill required credits for your major (whatever you decide that to be), the humanities teach students invaluable critical thinking, analysis, and writing skills, too. In other words, whatever courses you take will serve you well in the long run. The humanities courses you take during your freshman year should certainly fulfill your general education requirements, but they can also serve to broaden your perspective and deepen your understanding of the world at large.

Some Things to Remember
While deciding which classes to take in your freshman year in college, remember to keep your schedule challenging, but not overwhelming. Ultimately, there’s no such thing as the “perfect” schedule. There are many ways to build your curriculum. As long as you’re exploring your interests while fulfilling some of your general education requirements, you’re doing just fine. If you really find yourself at a loss as to what classes to take during your first year in college, you can always set up an appointment with your academic advisor. They’ll help you strategize which classes make the most sense for you and your needs as an undeclared major.

Your freshman year of college is the perfect time to explore your interests, make new friends, and decide where you’d like your academic journey to go. While you have a couple of years to finalize your major, your freshman year courses can be instrumental in helping you discover where your passion areas lie, and which career path you’d like to pursue.

Wondering what majors are available to you? Learn what programs are available at University of Bridgeport, here!