Choosing a course is difficult, especially when you are given numerous electives and courses to take for your degree, and no real advice to help choose courses. Some students say that you should choose a course based on your interest or if it is considered an “easy” course. Other students say that you should pick a course based on the quality of the professor rather than the topic. I chose courses that were based on professors and it helped me develop mentorships and enhanced my research interests for graduate school. Here are some things to look for when choosing courses for spring semester based on the quality of the professor:
Method of How Professor Explains Technical Terms:
Pay attention to how the professor is explaining any technical terms or language. The method of how a professor explains these especially non-ordinary terms to the field will shed light on how he or she can explain the ordinary terms.
Provides Feedback on Assignments:
A professor that provides feedback on an assignment cares about students and wants you to succeed in your major. Feedback helps with identifying strengths and weaknesses, helps you correct mistakes, and helps you to improve your writing.
Presenting The Material Clearly:
Ask yourself the question, does the professor present the material clearly or is he or she in a complete fog? If the professor presents the material clearly and explains the expectations, then they can get a check mark on high quality. If a professor is in a complete fog, they will not present the material clearly which will confuse students.
Determine how the Course is Designed:
Look at an outline, PowerPoint, or the syllabus to see how the sections/ chapters of the class is divided. If an introduction at the beginning of each section and a summary at the end is provided, then the professor gets a check mark on high quality. Professors who take the time to put up such “signposts” as they are referred to, are often professors who have thought out carefully the structure of the material and how it overlaps with previous sections.
Determine the Availability of the Professor:
Look at their office hours and the amount of time that they will spend on campus during the semester. You should always feel free to email or visit any professor of interest to ask her about their on campus availability.
Talk to Friends:
Talk to friends who have had the professors for classes in the past. They can give you detailed insider information about the professor as well as about the classes they offer. Some things to find out about include : the students’ workload, the professor’s office hours, and grading fairness. Use these comments to help you choose the best college professor for you.
Take Rate my Professor and other Professor Rating Sites with a Grain of Salt:
You can find out about their grading policy and fairness, their availability to their students and students’ overall experiences in their classes through these sites because they are reviews by former students. Do not believe everything that is written about a professor. Sometimes the reviews can be biased or are based on a negative experience from a bitter student who simply did not try. I suggest taking these rating sites with a grain of salt. Look for common themes in the reviews such as comments like the professor doesn’t explain material clearly or does not grade fairly. If you do not see common themes, then assume that the comments are void.
I personally chose courses based on professors which helped me with developing mentorships and enhancing my research interests for graduate school. I paid attention to my friends’ conversations about what professors to take. I stayed away from those who were not of the best quality.
If you take the time to build relationships with professors, they will provide you with support in the rest of your undergraduate career and if you need help, they will be there to answer questions. Undergraduates are significantly more likely to major in a field if they have an inspiring and caring faculty member in their introduction.These tips will help you in choosing courses that will rock your socks!