Academic Peer Advisor Course Selection Tips

First off, congratulations! The academic peer advisors and I are excited to meet you all during new student orientation! Right now you’re getting emails about your upcoming course selection and reading through the Advising Guidelines. I remember during the summer before coming to Wesleyan how excited I was to take new classes in subjects I had never even known were offered until checking out WesMaps, but also feeling overwhelmed with understanding course selection. I’m going to explain some important points about looking at the Advising Guidelines and choosing classes that will hopefully clarify some questions that come to mind. Also you can always feel free to email me, Allison, at agalante@wesleyan.eduor the academic peer advisor email where one of us will answer your questions (


What you are encouraged to do, and will find very helpful, is to read through the Advising Guidelines here(don’t skip this!). A big theme emphasized is balance. It’s going to be your first semester at Wesleyan, meaning you will have many more semesters to take classes you won’t be able to take right now, so don’t feel pressured to take all major requirements or all one-specific type of class. You have several opportunities to solidify your class schedule, extending 2 weeks after the first day of classes, so don’t stress!


The Process

There are 3 stages of choosing classes that lead to being enrolled in four full credit courses (or maybe 4.25 or 4.50 if you take a lab class, which are half or quarter credit).


1.Pre-Registration Planning

This phase beings in July. Freshmen will be ranking 7 first-year seminars and seven introductory courses. If you are a transfer, you’ll be ranking seven introductory and/or upper-level courses from WesMaps. First year seminars aren’t mandatory, but highly encouraged! Having taking a first year seminar myself, I can say that the meetings with professors, emphasis on developing your writing skills, and small classroom setting really helped prepare me for taking a wide range of classes at Wes. Wesvisingis a great tool for looking at the different departments at Wesleyan and getting an idea of where you may want to look for classes on Wesmaps.


2.Pre-Registration Adjustment

In late August, you’ll see a list of your scheduled courses in your portal. After seeing your schedule, you’ll meet with your faculty advisor during orientation to talk about your current courses and what you want your academic experience at Wesleyan to look like. You will then have an opportunity to change, drop, or add courses before classes start called Pre-Registration Adjustment.



Starting on the first of classes for two weeks is the Drop/Add period. You can go to the classes of the courses you are enrolled in, and those for which you aren’t, and continue to modify your schedule. It’s a great opportunity to see the syllabi for classes to decide if they are right for you.


Placement Exams

The big take-away: definitely take the placement exams! A past peer advisor describes why they are important here. You don’t want to be rushing to do them last minute or past the deadline, and not perform as well as you could have with more time. They deadline is June 30th.


Thinking About Course Balance

Listed below are some factors you’ll want to think about when choosing classes:


Class size and lecture vs. discussion

Some classes are larger lectures while others are smaller discussions. It’s great to have a mix of lectures and discussions that way you can engage in your classes by both listening and taking notes and participating, and have a balance between the two.



Don’t just list courses all in the same division-think about having a mix. For example if you’re thinking about declaring a NSM major, you may want to only take NSM classes. However, this can get overwhelming and you may find yourself having the same type of class assessments and weekly problem set due dates. This idea holds true for all 3 divisions. Try to take one class out of your comfort zone, or that is different in subject area than what you are most comfortable with.



On WesMaps, look at the types of assessments used for each class that way you can try to choose classes that will give you the chance to demonstrate your understanding in different ways.


Days of the week

If you take all four of your full credit classes on Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll probably find yourself very tired these days and possibly wanting some more structure on Mondays, Wednedays, and Fridays. To avoid this, try to space out your classes over the span of the week.


General Education Expectations

You may be saying to yourself, “I thought Wesleyan didn’t have any core requirements!”. This is true, but the General Education Expectations, commonly called gen eds, are an important cluster of classes to pay attention to for fulfilling certain majors and for getting the most out of the breath of classes offered at Wes. If you are having trouble thinking about the mix of classes to take, gen eds can help with structuring your course selection.

Here are the basics:


  • Divisions are Humanities & Arts (HA), Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS), and Natural Sciences & Mathematics (NSM). There are 2 stages
  • Stage 1: two courses from two different departments in a division
  • Stage 2: additional third course in any department in a division
  • Some majors require stage I is fulfilled
  • Required for honors



Do you think you’ll want to go abroad?


I know it seems really far off, but many of the non-english speaking programs require 2 years of language. So if you want to go abroad Junior year, you should consider taking the language for the country you want to study in freshman year. You can explore the study abroad programs hereand also see the contact information for any questions that come up.



I know there is a lot of info above, but if you have any questions feel free to email me or the other peer advisors ( See you at orientation we can’t want to meet you!