In the first installment of your Pre-Semester Preparatory Primer, we’ll dig into putting together your course schedule. Each year we have to counsel patience to a few eager new students who want to register for courses practically the moment they confirm their enrollment at Fletcher. While formal course registration won’t happen for most new students until the end of August, now is a great time to spend a few moments familiarizing yourself with the course catalogue. At the very least, it’s a good idea to figure out ahead of time a handful of courses you’re absolutely sure you want to take at some point during your time at Fletcher. Identifying some of these “must haves” in advance is helpful in formulating your overall course plan. Pay attention to when these courses are offered, and if they have any prerequisites you’ll need to take first. Likewise, also note whether any of them satisfy a breadth requirement, and under what Field of Study each course falls (since completion of Fields of Study satisfies the depth requirement of a two-year degree).
Even if you haven’t quite figured out what Fields of Study you think you’ll pursue, “mapping” your priority courses in this way against the curricular requirements might reveal what areas of the curriculum are the best fit for your interests. With this basic architecture established, you can start thinking about how you’ll meet the remaining course requirements (either to complete a Field of Study or to meet a breadth requirement), and what courses you might consider taking outside of formal requirements in order to build a new skill or pursue a personal intellectual interest. Protip (for two-year degree students): the more breadth and depth requirements you take care of during your first year, the more curricular flexibility you’ll have in your second. Focusing on satisfying curricular requirements can also provide a helpful framework for first-semester course selection.
This starts to sound a bit complicated, I know, but I think most students will find it’s a more straightforward process than it initially seems. By the time course registration begins, you’ll have a soft fall semester schedule in mind. “Soft” is the important term here, as your plans are very likely to shift somewhat during the drop/add period, after you have the chance to meet with your academic advisor, talk to second-year students, and sample some courses during “shopping day,” which takes place just before the start of classes each semester. Understand that even meticulously laid plans are likely to change a bit during your time at Fletcher, and this can be particularly true in your first-semester course selection process, since you’re operating without an insider frame of reference. With that in mind, though, having a basic potential schedule mapped out ahead of time at least gives you a framework around which to plan.