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Academics > Advising > Guiding a Student's Course Selection
Advising Manual.

Guiding a Student's Course Selection

Adapted with permission from Beloit College's Advising Manual

Goals for Developing Advisee's Schedules

  • Consolidation of academic success – or finding academic success

  • Steady progress towards graduation

  • Enjoyment of courses

  • Free time – for co-curricular activities, for finding their niche at Monmouth, for developing and consolidating friendships, work-study

General Principles Guiding Course Selection 

Working on major requirements or working towards finding a major:

  • Take a course, or another course, in your possible major.

  • Are you enjoying a course this semester?   Take a second course in the department.

  • No idea about a major?  Take courses in several unfamiliar areas.

  • Spread your major requirements over all your remaining time at Monmouth; don’t finish it early.

  • Work on missing general education requirements.  Don’t wait until the senior year to complete them.

  • Pursue existing interests unrelated to the major, and develop new interests.

  • Be aware that many level lower courses, e.g. in math, science, languages and economics, are sequential and may only be offered alternate semesters.  You must therefore start on them at the appropriate time.

  • Be aware that some courses required for the major may only be offered every two years; check carefully and take them when they are offered.

  • Take a variety of types of courses e.g. labs, writing intensive, artistic, heavy reading load, only two exams, etc.  Check with faculty and other students to see what courses may involve.

  • Don’t take two courses from the same professor in one semester unless you have already had a course with him/her.

  • Take an appropriate number of courses (usually 3-4) so that you will do well academically and have time for other activities.

  • If you really want a specific course, go and explain this to the professor during pre-registration; faculty always favor motivated students.  Make sure the professor remembers your name!

  • Note that a double major or several minors is often limiting.  It is liable to give you little chance to take a wide range of interesting and varied courses. Students believe they are credentialing themselves; however, they may in fact be limiting their education.


  • Internships.  Students may do an internship for academic credit instead of a course during the semester.  This is a very sensible choice if the student is unsure about a possible career, or has little working experience.  An internship may be paid, or may receive academic credit.  Internships for credit are arranged through individual departments.

  • Self-expressive or creative courses, e.g. music, art, theatre, dance

  • A totally unfamiliar subject with an intriguing course description

  • Language courses – Students often reject foreign languages because of bad experiences in high school. Many study abroad programs, however, require two years of language study.   Additionally, many graduate programs require or encourage proficiency in a foreign language

  • Public Speaking…  Logic... Calculus…  International Relations…  Introduction to Literature…  Introduction to Women’s Studies…Biological Issues…Introduction to Sociology -- and many others! In other words, students should take a wide array of Monmouth College courses from a variety of departments and disciplines: this is what a liberal education is all about!

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