One of the most appealing aspects of college is being able to choose from a huge array of classes and take those that pique your interests. But not every course is going to keep you on the edge of your seat. Because of general education, or core, requirements and major-specific prerequisites, many college students have very little freedom to choose their courses until their junior and senior years. And it’s likely that some required courses are going to be outside a student’s area of interest.
What to do About It
- Figure out what’s not working
“Unfortunately, a lot of the time when students can’t stand their boring classes, it has nothing to do with the class content and it is instead because of their professors,” says Schofield. “The professor’s attitude and teaching style can make or break a class, regardless of how interesting a student finds the subject.” When you next sign up for classes, do some research on professors before you sign up. Ask other students if they liked a professor’s teaching style or do some research online.
- Get creative with core requirements
“Some colleges have core requirements that can be met with a variety of courses,” says Curtis-Bailey. “Do some early ‘investigation’ by talking with some faculty and maybe even other students who may have taken those courses so you can take what is in alignment with your interests and skill sets.” Think about pre-reqs and general ed classes as opportunities to explore.
- Work your electives
Whether students pepper in some electives each year to mix up their schedule or hold off so they can get pre-requisite courses out of the way as quickly as possible, electives can help students add some variety to their curricula.
- Re-examine your major
If the boring classes are part of a major requirement, pinpoint whether it’s the topic that’s uninteresting or something else. Many factors can affect the quality of a class, but if it’s definitely the subject matter, students may consider exploring other majors.
Resources & Tools
- Rate My Professors
“I recommend my students look up their professors on Rate My Professors before registering for their classes to ensure other students haven’t reviewed the professor as being mind-numbingly boring and dull,” says Schofield.
- Your advisor
They can help you create a well-balanced schedule and plan for future terms.
- Your schoolmates
Ask around and get details about specific classes and professors. When all else fails, classmates are also excellent sources of commiseration.