Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paul's Tip of the Week: Working on your Perfect Fall 2014 Schedule

While the semester is wrapping up and many of us have enrolled in classes for the Fall, some of us might not have our ideal schedules. Maybe you didn't get into that gen. ed. course you really wanted to or you still aren't sure how you feel about your schedule. That's OK!

Here's some advice to continue crafting a perfect schedule that fits your interests and passions and keeps you on track towards declaring a major and completing your academic requirements:

1.) Keep Checking SPIRE
Still upset about that course you wanted to take but was full before your enrollment appointment began? Check back on it over the summer. For a lot of courses, chances are that someone will likely drop the course leaving an empty seat for you to join. Every once in a while, search for the course on SPIRE and see if a spot opens up.

2.) Email the Professor
Is that class you want to get into just not opening up on SPIRE? Send the professor of the class a polite email explaining who you are, your desire to get into the course, and the reasons why taking this specific class is so important to you. Professors love seeing passionate students.

If the professor never responds, don't be afraid to show up on the first day of the class and talk to the professor in person. Two years ago, a professor never responded to my email but when I showed up in class, he let me into the class immediately.

3.) Use the "Swap" feature on SPIRE
When switching out of one class into another, makes sure to use the "Swap" feature on your SPIRE. You can find this feature under "Main Menu" -> "Enrollment" -> "Swap Classes". From here, you select the class you want to drop and then select the class you want to enroll in.

It's a great idea to use the "Swap" feature because it allows you to customize your schedule without having to constantly "Drop" and "Add" classes based on how close you are to reaching the amount of credits you can take in one semester.

4.) Take a Five College Course
Get outside of your comfort zone and take a course at one of the other four colleges in the Pioneer Valley: Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith College. I've taken several courses at both Amherst College and Hampshire College and have loved ALL of them. Being able to immerse yourself at a different college really gives you an opportunity to take a class that may never be offered at UMass and to really explore the Five College Community.

Registration will take place during Add/Drop. The forms will be put up two weeks before Add/Drop begins and can be found on SPIRE under "Main Menu" -> "Enrollment -> "Five College Enrollment". Print out two copies of the form, get the professor of the course to sign both copies, and bring them to 613 Goodell before Add/Drop ends.

Got questions about the Five College Interchange Program? Stop by 613 Goodell and ask away!

5.) Talk to your Academic Advisor
You might change up your schedule quite significantly before the Fall Semester begins. Whether you do it before this semester ends or over the summer, it's always a good idea to check in with your Academic Advisor. They will be able to offer you invaluable advice on the courses you pick.

So relax, get through your finals, and start thinking about your future! And don't worry, we're always here to help. 

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