Prepare for Next Fall: Tips & Resources to Help You During Course Request
It is that time again; time to start thinking about next semester and to start developing your class schedule for the fall. At the moment, it may seem that next fall is so far away and we are not quite sure what next semester will entail. During these stressful times I wanted to write about resources I found that helped me create my schedule for the next semester. The process can be stressful because you feel like you don’t have time to see your advisor while trying to create the perfect schedule with no time conflicts. I know many of us are organized students and I am sure some of you may already know these things, but I wanted to put all of the important information in one area for anyone that has questions or needs more guidance! I hope you find this helpful and hopefully by the end of the article you will feel confident, or more confident, in creating your schedule for next fall. I hope by next semester we will all be back in Blacksburg and attending the football games!
The first thing we should start with is where can you find out when Course Request opens, and when does it close. The best place to receive this information is on your Virginia Tech email. Typically, your advisor will send out an email the day course request opens. In that email it will say when it will close and resources you can use for help. The image on the left is taken from the email that my advisor sent me with the course request information! Since Virginia Tech has moved classes online, your advisors should be offering 15 minute Zoom virtual meetings. If you would like to schedule a Zoom meeting, you need to reach out to your advisor in order to know their availability. This may not seem ideal for some, and some of you may like seeing your advisor in person, but each of Virginia Tech’s colleges will help you in any way that they can considering the circumstances. Otherwise, if you have any questions I would recommend you simply just email your advisor. Your academic advisor is the best resource to start with if you have any questions or concerns regarding your academics. Thankfully, they have given us two weeks to complete Course Request instead of one, so you don’t have to feel rushed or pressed for time! Another resource with useful information regarding Course Request is from the daily emails from each of the colleges (i.e. Pamplin or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will send daily email updates with on-goings related to the specific college your major is in). They may feel monotonous, and I know that in the past I disregarded these emails and just labeled them as spam, but they have useful information such as event dates and information regarding academic advising. I would suggest reading these emails if you aren’t clear about something.
The best resource, once you have figured out an idea of what courses you should be taking, is the TimeTable of classes. This is used to look up courses in the fall and see what times they are offered. This is a great resource I like to use because it will give you the CRN number of the classes you look up, and this is helpful because for Course Request, you only type in the CRNs for all of the courses you would like to take. This is also where you can see at what times the courses you are interested in are offered and from here you can start to piece together your schedule with ease! The next resource to go to is your four-year plan schedule that is typically made by your advisor. This has been one of the most helpful things for me when I am trying to plan my schedule for the next semester. I am a visual person, so it is nice for me to see my four year plan laid out in front of me so I can physically see what each semester of mine will entail. Another helpful thing about this is it provides the course number, which you need for Course Request and it will also inform you of particular classes where you need to get a C- or better in. Personally I always like to make sure which classes are the ones where a C- is required for planning purposes.
My last tip is to talk with your peers, friends, and professors. This can be helpful if you want to know for example, if there is a certain professor that is recommended for a specific class. This has been helpful for me in the past and has made my class schedule a lot better. A great resource especially for CWIB members is to consult your peer mentor if you have one. Do not hesitate to reach out to them with any questions or concerns, because I am sure they would be willing to help as much as they can, and I say this because I am a peer mentor myself and I always like helping as much as I can! In the past, I have also used my friends for help, as we try to plan out our schedules so we request certain classes together. It is always nice to have a friendly face in your classes! In the last article I wrote, I discussed the benefits of studying with friends. Having classes with your friends is always helpful and has helped me so far in my six semesters at Tech. I don’t know how I would have gotten through certain classes without having the help of my peers.
As said earlier, I am sure most of us know how this process works and are very apt in doing it with no help, but I remember my freshman year when I was stressed out because I was worried I would forget about Course Request, or I would not complete it correctly, so I hope that someone in CWIB finds this helpful. Lastly, I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe especially during these difficult times! Like I said earlier, hopefully we all find each other back in Blacksburg in the fall!
By: Ashley Mattson