How do I Choose the Best Associate's Degree Classes?

Lori Smith

Strategic selections of associate's degree classes are instrumental to ensuring that you meet your scholastic goals. Some of the required coursework includes English, mathematics and science. It is usually best to enroll in these classes first because they give you the foundation for other, more advanced courses. A certain number of elective credits are often necessary as well. You should choose the ones that are closely related to your degree major.

A mortarboard and diploma for an associate's degree.
A mortarboard and diploma for an associate's degree.

Students may choose associate's degree classes with various goals in mind. One person may be working toward a higher level of education with the intention of pursuing a transfer degree to a university. Another may wish to obtain a professional degree after the first two years of college and enter the job market. Either way, associate's degree classes are the general education requirements that should lead you to the next step of your educational pursuit and career aspirations.

Before you enroll in any particular class, carefully consider your long-term goals. For example, if you eventually want to earn a bachelor's degree and you aspire to be a social worker, you may have selected psychology as your degree major. You should research university programs to see what classes are required for admission into that particular program. If schools list a developmental psychology elective as a prerequisite, be sure to include it as one of your selections.

A common mistake among students is that they choose electives they believe will be easy. You can do that, but you should select classes that will also help you reach your educational goals. In other words, if your transfer major is psychology, a pottery class will not reinforce your knowledge about the subject matter. Women's studies or African American history might be more suitable. If art is your major, however, then pottery may not be such a bad idea.

To ensure you are selecting the classes that will help lead you in the right direction, consider visiting the campus guidance counselor. Avoid long wait times by making an appointment in advance. This is especially true when the start of a new semester draws near because many other people will be doing the same thing.

You should also speak to other students who have already taken classes that interest you. They may offer valuable insight into the teaching styles of various professors. Even though many different instructors teach the same associate's degree classes, they do not always do so in the same manner. Just as each person has a different way of learning, professors have their own ways of teaching, too.

Algebra and other mathematical courses, for example, are usually part of the general requirements for associate's degree classes. If you have a hard time with this type of coursework, then you will probably want to choose an instructor who is patient and explains concepts thoroughly. If you happen to excel in this subject, then the opposite may be true; a professor who spends too much time reviewing simple applications may bore you.

Some people learn more effectively in classes in which instructors spend a lot of time engaging students in discussion. Others prefer to listen to lectures and participate less. Students are a valuable resource when deciding which professor's teaching style you may enjoy the most. A little research in advance of enrolling in these classes can save you a lot of frustration in the future.

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