A Student's Perspective on Course Selection

Tags: AB academics advising BSE courses major orientation placement

On behalf of the Peer Academic Advisers (PAAs) at Princeton, congratulations on your acceptance to Princeton! PAAs are juniors and seniors in your residential college and collectively cover a wide range of academic experiences, concentrations, and certificates. Although you will have one PAA working closely with your RCA and zee group, you have access to any of the PAAs at Princeton. We are one of your many resources for all things academic at Princeton, and we can’t wait to help you make the most of your time as a Princeton student.

One of the most exciting times of the year is course selection, which will happen at the end of your orientation. Although the course catalog may seem daunting, there are a few tips to help make the most of your first semester schedule. As a general rule, aim for a balance in your classes to prevent an overloaded schedule–if possible, try not to take four courses with all problem sets and exams, nor four courses heavy with essays and weekly readings. Look into prerequisites for 1-3 majors of interest and figure out which courses seem most interesting.

As a first-year student, you have special access to some of the coolest classes available. Many students cite Freshman Seminars as their favorite academic experience at Princeton. The Humanities Sequence brings a cohort of students together through an interdisciplinary study of literature, history, and more. The Integrated Science Curriculum serves a similar purpose with STEM fields, offering methods of learning about computer science, math, and the natural and physical sciences and how they work together.

Here’s a breakdown of how I chose courses my freshman fall. I placed into SPA (Spanish) 103 and a freshman seminar on 19th-20th century poetry. I was interested in majoring in both Music and Chemistry, but I had placed out of CHM 201 with AP, so I took MUS 105. Lastly, I was pre-med, so to get started on the pre-med requirements, I enrolled in the lab course EEB 211. Overall, my schedule was very well-rounded and diverse, and this allowed me to understand the different kinds of courses offered at Princeton pretty quickly.

Overall, course selection should be an exciting process, and you will have many resources to help you navigate it along the way. We are all looking forward to meeting you and supporting you at Princeton!

Author Profile

mc28's picture
Megan Chung '19
Peer Academic Adviser

Congratulations and welcome to Princeton! My name is Megan, and I am a senior in the Department of Chemistry with a minor in Global Health and Health Policy (GHP) from Little Rock, Arkansas. Although I am a PAA in Wilson, I spent my first three years at Princeton in Mathey College. Outside of researching chemistry and being a PAA, I am the former president of the Princeton University Orchestra and am a Peer Adviser for Health Professions Advising. I would love to answer any questions you may have about Princeton and beyond – please reach out at meganchung@princeton.edu!