How Do SU Students Choose Classes?
By Justine Murray – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – This time of the school year is the most common for SU students to drop a class. With a month into the fall semester, students are still finalizing their course schedule and deciding whether their classes work for them. Many students, however, are influenced to change their schedule before the semester even starts.
Registration for fall courses opens up during Spring of the previous semester, giving students a lot of time to switch their classes. Many of these students add a class in May that they believe will broaden their curriculum, but later realize that it’s too much on their plate.
First year student Danny Dacus “almost signed up for a class for an extra 3 credits” because she “wanted to take 19.” The only thing that stopped her was “the fact that it was 8 a.m. on [her] days to sleep in.”
She says luckily she had the summer to think her decision through.
Upperclassmen like Erin Govely have more of an idea of how many credits they can handle, going into the school semester. The Newspaper and Online Journalism major likes to be able to say she can take the hard class.
“But if I know that I’m in 18 credits already, I won’t be able to commit if it’s a really difficult class,” Govely said.
Time management plays a large role in any SU student’s consideration of whether to drop a class. It is a main reason why Freshman Matt Keenan switched out of his History course.
“It was going to take so much time and it’s something that’s not key to my major,” he said.
Govely agreed that time is an important factor.
“Time management is definitely one of the things that I prioritize, because I usually kinda know as a Junior now what activities or clubs I’m gonna be Involved in my free time,” she said.
Public Affairs Professor William Coplin believes it is “probably true” that the people who drop one of their classes “do it because they’re overcommitted.” In fact, he says Public Affairs 101 promotes dropping, because if students do poorly on the first paper and they start not handing their papers in on time, they’re finished.
Time management comes hand in hand with personal responsibility, according to Professor Coplin, who believes it’s up to the person and if they’re responsible enough to do it.
This skill is necessary in order to do well in any class, especially in broadcast journalism courses, where “being able to write quickly and clearly” is a major expectation in courses taught by Professor Barbara Fought.
In Professor Fought’s experience however, those who drop her courses mainly do so because expectations are different from reality.
“Once they get into the broadcast journalism classes and they really realize what it is and it might be different from what they thought, they realize this isn’t the major for them,” she said.
Where many students choose a class just because it looks easy, she says they will often pick broadcast journalism courses because it looks really fun to be a sportscaster or a TV news reporter. Like with other courses, the class roster becomes smaller after the first week, once students realize they are in for something harder than they thought it was going to be.
Professor Fought offers reassurance by explaining how every major is tough, but many people have made it through the curriculum.
In order to help students make it through his own curriculum and throughout their college careers, Professor Coplin provides a list of ten skills employers want you to learn in college.
“The key to managing what you do in college is to keep developing these skills and explore careers through jobs and internships,” he said.