Courseload

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Courseload

Post  SLam08 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:32 pm

Would you suggest a first year university student take 4 courses or 5 courses in the first semester?

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Re: Courseload

Post  bcheng06 on Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:38 pm

I suggest four courses. It would give you time to adjust to university. But, if you're really keen on getting ahead, you can do five courses. Bear in mind though, don't over-extend yourself. You'll pay the price if you take too big of a bite from the apple.

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Re: Courseload

Post  CHo05 on Sat Jun 07, 2008 10:34 pm

I'd like the couch the response in a couple different scenarios:

1) If you've taken AP courses and are not taking your credits (i.e. you are "redoing" your courses): I'd suggest you'd take 5 courses. I've discovered that BNS makes you more than prepared for the first year courses that the AP covers. Spending two years to cover material that is normally covered over the course of one year (e.g. english, sciences) is more than thorough. Having said that, I really wonder why you would want to retake those AP courses. You'll likely get that stellar grade (assuming that being bored doesn't make you slack off), but you'll be bored out of your wits.

2) If you haven't take AP courses and will not be immediately involved in extracurriculars once you enter university: I'd still suggest you take 5 courses. The short reason is that I find BNS to have very high standards, and most of those standards carry well into university. If you're going to one of the local schools around here (UBC/SFU/UVIC), or possibly even schools across Canada, you'll discover a large number of individuals who can't cope in university because they still carry bad habits that BNS (largely) knocks out of you. These people will allow you to pull off that A so long as you're willing to continue the hard work that got you into university in the first place. However, this assumes that you have the time to put in that hard work, which would be difficult if you have extracurriculars that are carrying over from high school into university.

3) You haven't taken AP courses and will be immediately involved in extracurriculars once you enter university: I'd suggest you take 4 courses. You'll take some time to adjust to a university environment and while you could probably put the time into it if you weren't involved in frequent non-academic pursuits, I'd be amazed if you weren't stressed out.

4) You are aiming for that legendary A+ gpa: Surprisingly, it's been done before with regular frequency. I'd suggest you'd take four courses. Indeed, I'd suggest you'd take four courses every semester. A+ gpa is tough, and those that manage that and party at the same time inspire such awe in me.

Do not, if you value being stress-free, take 6 courses. I tried that once at SFU and nearly had a mental breakdown. I went to bed every day reciting what I didn't manage to get around to doing and would have to wake up early next morning to finish. I have another friend who took 6 courses every semester and was also really stressed out. Having said that, she did take 6 courses every semester, and she managed to get it done :p

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Re: Courseload

Post  SLam08 on Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:36 am

I'll be taking CMPT 126 and MATH 151 for sure for my first semester. I already took AP Comp Sci A, which should make CMPT 126 relatively easy, and I'm hoping Calculus 12 will make MATH 151 not too hard. The other two courses would probably be CMPT 150 and MACM 101. If I had a fifth course, it'd probably be a writing course, maybe ENG 199 or one of the philosophy ones. Are philosophy courses worth taking?

I'm hoping to be involved in a few clubs at SFU, and also volunteering here and there. I'd like to take 4 courses, but then I'll already be behind and have to take at least a course during the summer. In addition, I also have a entrance scholarship that requires me to get at least 3.00 gpa during my first semester (but then 3.50 cgpa for the other semesters). Do you think 5 courses is a bit much or would it be fine?

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Re: Courseload

Post  CHo05 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:45 pm

Philosophy courses are definitely worth taking! Indeed, any course that exposes you to ideas and people you don't normally hang out with is generally worth taking. It broadens your horizons, and it certainly makes me feel like I've lived a richer existence. Here are some comments I have about phil courses at SFU.

1) Phil 110 "Logic and Reasoning": It certainly made me start to think a little more logically, but ultimately it was a very "mathematical" course. I ended up feeling like a computer, spouting out logic symbols left and right. It doesn't really go into "applied logic", such as being able to identify fallacies. It might be a good foray into philosophy if you have a math/computer background, but it doesn't really teach you how to create a philosophical argument and defend it.

2) Phil 100 or XX1: Horrible. It gives you a great overview about a lot of popular topics in philosophy (the mind, existence of god, good vs evil), but it barely skims the surface of each one before it moves onto the next. There's definitely a feeling that the topics you enjoy only last a couple seconds, and then you have to sit through a lifetime of boring philosophical questions.

3) Phil 120 "Introduction to Moral Philosophy". My favorite first year philosophy course. It thoroughly explored very good questions about how we should conduct our lives, and fairly presents arguments for and against most positions. It is a "writing intensive" course, and I put that in scary quotes because the amount of writing pales in comparison to those required for other courses. However, I might have to say that this course is probably harder than most writing courses. The professor asks you to defend a philosophical position of your choice against a certain critique, and it can be hard to capture the gist of your fantastic logic in the space of 500 words. Furthermore, philosophy TAs are well versed in the art of arguments, and they can tear apart most philosophical arguments with ease. In short, do not compose your argument and your essay the night before its due when you're up against these TAs!

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Re: Courseload

Post  CHo05 on Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:52 pm

Considering that you are going to SFU and would like to keep your scholarship, it might not be a bad idea to take only four courses. I fully believe that you probably could take 5 courses as well as volunteer, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. I also took 4 courses in my first semester in order to safeguard my scholarship, and I found myself with a lot of spare time. In light of that, I'd suggest you make up your course load over the summer instead of taking 6 courses in your second semester. SFU is wonderful in having its trimester system. Summer semesters are treated identically to regular semesters at SFU.

Just FYI, 3.00 is a B average, while 3.5 is between a B+ and an A- average.

I also noticed that you considered English 199. It is a wonderful course that teaches you to write in an academic setting. I think that taking that course really gave me an advantage over my peers whenever I had to write a paper during my first two years at SFU; I could write in a style and a format that was exactly what my professors expected of a university student. You will get much out of that course if you take it within your first year.

Having said that, the benefits from that course largely disappear around third year. There is little need for you to take it in third year if you haven't done so already. Most people by that time have already mastered the academic essay by simply having to write a lot of them during their academic careers. So you'll get the most benefit out of ENGL 199 within your first year at SFU.

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Re: Courseload

Post  MMcLaughlin06 on Sat Jun 14, 2008 10:04 am

CHo05 wrote:I'd like the couch the response in a couple different scenarios:

1) If you've taken AP courses and are not taking your credits (i.e. you are "redoing" your courses): I'd suggest you'd take 5 courses. I've discovered that BNS makes you more than prepared for the first year courses that the AP covers. Spending two years to cover material that is normally covered over the course of one year (e.g. english, sciences) is more than thorough. Having said that, I really wonder why you would want to retake those AP courses. You'll likely get that stellar grade (assuming that being bored doesn't make you slack off), but you'll be bored out of your wits.

I agree-you're wasting your time and money if you retake your AP courses. Even after 2 years between taking AP psych and taking a psych course at uni, I was able to pick everything up again very easily.

5 courses is tough, but remember that you'll be in school less time than you were in uni (well, at least if you're in arts anyways) so you have more time to study. Personally, I think it's better to try getting more courses out of the way at the beginning and then be able to have an easier workload come 4th year. My friends who are in 4th year now said this was really helpful, especially near the end of the year when it comes time to job-hunt; you have more time to do so.

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Re: Courseload

Post  OPierce05 on Fri Jun 20, 2008 2:27 am

>>I'll be taking CMPT 126 and MATH 151 for sure for my first semester. I already took AP Comp Sci A, which should make CMPT 126 relatively easy, and I'm hoping Calculus 12 will make MATH 151 not too hard. The other two courses would probably be CMPT 150 and MACM 101. If I had a fifth course, it'd probably be a writing course, maybe ENG 199 or one of the philosophy ones. Are philosophy courses worth taking?

CMPT 126: Ridiculously easy.
MATH 151: If you've had calculus, also very easy. (I didn't have calc in HS and I still did well)
MACM 101: Simple concepts buried in rather obfuscated language. (Make sure your professor or TA speaks english! Neither of mine could.)

When I say easy, I mean the concepts involved. You still have to work fairly hard at the assignments if you want the A, but I wouldn't imagine you gaining 15 pounds or getting 2 hrs of sleep a night. Given your background, I think you should really do the fifth course. It's generally better to do as much as you can, in my opinion.

All 100 level courses tend to be easy simply because there are a lot of stupid/lazy people at them. I think if you were willing to put in the work, you'd get over 4.0. You hear the "adjust to university" spiel a lot but to a burnaby north student, SFU is really not that different at all.

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Re: Courseload

Post  SLam08 on Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:25 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone. Slightly off topic, but how long does it usually take to register your courses?

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Re: Courseload

Post  bcheng06 on Sat Jun 21, 2008 11:44 pm

Researching the courses takes a long time, but actually registering is extremely quick. Just make sure you're in front of the computer at your registration time, and enter all the course numbers when you can register - takes only two minutes.

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Re: Courseload

Post  MMcLaughlin06 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:20 pm

bcheng06 wrote:Researching the courses takes a long time, but actually registering is extremely quick. Just make sure you're in front of the computer at your registration time, and enter all the course numbers when you can register - takes only two minutes.

Is that how SFU does it? We make up a worklist and just hit "register all" on the list when the time comes. But usually you spend the 5min before your time continually refreshing frantically until the register option comes up Razz

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Re: Courseload

Post  bcheng06 on Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:02 pm

Well, yeah. SFU's clock is sync'ed with either Microsoft.com or time.windows.com so if you have your synchronization done the same way, you can just watch your computer clock. The moment it hits your registration time, you can type in all the course numbers and register for them. In that sense, UBC's easier because you can select all your courses ahead of time and just hit one button for registration versus SFU, where you have to enter individual course numbers and hope that your typing is quick enough. Sad

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Re: Courseload

Post  AZhou03 on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:52 pm

You should talk to diwu04 on this forum. She's a very successful SFU graduate with a shitload of courses under her belt.

Personally I would suggest taking five courses, just to keep yourself challenged, but not if you think your gpa will suffer.

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