It’s that time of the semester when UC Berkeley students are constantly perusing the Academic Guide in search of the perfect combination of classes. The process can be stressful — you want to choose classes that you find interesting and keep you on track for graduation. For incoming freshmen, navigating this process is an even bigger headache. But luckily for you, the Clog’s here to make it easier.
Rate My Professors and BerkeleyTime are the holy grail of class enrollment. These online resources contain a treasure trove of information that will make choosing classes much easier! For example, if you have an option between taking one of two classes to satisfy a prerequisite for your major, BerkeleyTime has all the information about class averages for each semester and each instructor. Rate My Professors, on the other hand, can provide insight about various professors that will also help you succeed in class — I learned that my college writing professor from last semester places an emphasis on students who regularly attend her office hours even though she never made this fact explicit during class.
Another aspect of class scheduling that often gets overlooked is examining the final exam groups before enrolling. Back when I was enrolling in classes as an incoming freshman, I was quite satisfied with the schedule I’d created for myself until I looked at the final exam times and realized that I would have three finals on one day! Looking at the final exam groups helps you avoid a stressful and hectic finals week and having to run from one end of campus to another.
Lastly, if you aren’t 100% sure whether you will enjoy your classes, it is a good idea to enroll in more classes than you’d initially need; you can always test the waters before the add/drop deadline and drop one of the classes!
Breadth requirement recommendations for the College of Letters and Science
Environmental Science, Policy and Management 50AC: Introduction to Culture and Natural Resource Management
This course satisfies the American Cultures requirement and one of three breadths — social and behavioral sciences, historical studies as well as philosophy and values. Taking this course kills two birds with one stone; you will have satisfied both a breadth and the American Cultures requirement.
Anthropology 3AC: Introduction to Social/Cultural Anthropology
This course, too, satisfies the social and behavioral sciences breadth and the American Cultures requirement. It is generally regarded as a class with a manageable workload in which most students perform well. Professor Mariane Ferme, who is teaching this course, is also said to be passionate about the subject matter and considerate toward students.
Molecular and Cell Biology 55: Plagues and Pandemics
The professors teaching this course, which fulfills the biological science breadth, are known for their engaging lectures and interesting course content. Moreover, given the present circumstances, taking this course would be especially relevant and encourage innovative dialogue while also learning from history.
Bioengineering 100: Ethics in Science and Engineering
Satisfying the philosophy and values breadth requirement, this class is perfect for those majoring in STEM fields. This course breaks down the ethical issues the scientific community faces in terms of conduct, research, engineering practices and much more.
Class recommendations if you’re looking to add units
Freshman and sophomore seminars, which are usually one or two units, are offered by various departments and help facilitate engaging conversations between a small group of students and a professor in a close-knit setting. I took freshman seminars during both the fall and spring semesters, and they were a great way to interact with my peers and a welcomed change from my classes with more than 1,000 people!
One-unit Berkeley Connect courses, offered by departments such as English, mathematics and physics, pair students with their own personal mentor in the field. Over the course of the semester, you have one-on-one meetings with your mentor, small group sessions with like-minded peers, guest lectures, etc. And the best part is, there are no assignments, quizzes or exams — just engagement and learning about the prospects in a particular field!
So there you have it! We hope we’ve demystified all things enrollment and class scheduling. You can now tackle the process calmly knowing that you’re armed with knowledge from the Clog!