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Your First Year

First Year Academics

Thinking about First Semester Courses: Some Suggestions

In selecting your Fall 2016 courses, don’t worry too much about fulfilling requirements (though most of the courses you select will fulfill requirements). Focus instead on what combination of courses will allow you to make a good adjustment to college academics and get off to a great start at Washington College.

First, think about a good balance of courses: a combination of courses that make different demands and require different talents is usually best. You might take a course in an area you might major in, one in an area that’s completely new to you, and one in an area that you find challenging. Or you might try to balance one course that requires longer readings and papers with a course that requires shorter, more frequent readings and homework. Or consider a combination of a course that focuses on contemporary issues (political science, economics, or sociology), a course with at least some focus on the past (history, history of art, some philosophy and literature courses), and a course with a hands-on component (acting, fine art, lab science or social science courses with field work).

You can also check the Fall 2016 course schedule recommended for Freshmen or specific department’s web sites for the requirements and suggested first year courses for majors that interest you.

Before you come to campus for your advising day you must complete your Summer Advising Course Selection Worksheet. This worksheet asks you to work out several different combinations of four courses that you think might make a good first semester for you. Bring your worksheet with you to your advising appointment at Summer Advising.

Completing this worksheet will help you develop a better idea of what to discuss with your summer advisor and having more concrete plans to discuss with your advisor will help him or her to advise you. You should also feel free to ask your advisor any questions that you have—we expect you to have questions and we’re happy to answer them.

Finally, remember that sometimes your first choice is not available and you may need to modify your plan. Try not to be frustrated—since you are a first year student, you are registering after upper class students. You may not get your first choice for every course, but you will get a schedule of Fall 2016 courses that meets your needs as a first year student. And, as you progress through the years, you will move up in the registration sequence. As a senior, you will have first choice! So, if you miss a class one semester, just have patience—your turn will come.

Some other useful tools:


General Education/Distribution Requirements: Class of 2020 

Distribution & Graduation Requirement Worksheet

Advanced Standing (AP, IB, etc) Credits