I'm an incoming freshman and I just have a few questions about my schedule. I plan on double majoring in Comp Sci and Econ with a concentration in finance. Is this a feasible choice? How hard are the two majors?
I have AP credit for BC Calc, Bio, Chem, US History, AP World, and English Lang so far.
For my first semester I plan on taking Math 103, Writing 20, Econ 201 D (55D), and CHN 305 (125) or the intermediate Chinese one. I speak Chinese fluently and went to Chinese school for 12 years so I'm ok at reading and writing. Should i just get it out of the way or should I take Comp Sci 101L? And does Comp Sci 101L have a lab period too?
Also is the Stat requirement for Econ just Stat 103 or is there another class too? and should I take Stat 103 during the spring semester then?
Finally, in order to achieve this double major will I have to overload on classes for a lot of semesters? And do a lot of students attend a summer session to fulfill some requirements?
In all honesty, depending on how much time you want to spend bent over books, you may need to adjust your schedule. My recommendation over the language issue is that unless you want to minor/major you should just skip to the appropriate level and knock out the requirement. Keep in mind, you can always go for a proficiency exam and be certified as fluent without having to minor/major in the language.
What I'm thinking about when I see your schedule is that your Chinese class will meet three times a week, and you will have some type of homework whether it is an exam, essay, or just typical homework for every class.
Econ 51 meets four times a week and is a class that most struggle with. I'm not saying you're going to struggle, but as an Econ major I can tell you, to do well in the class (A- and above) you need to know the material very well. It is a large lecture hall, and the professors know exactly who knows the material, who thinks they know the material but not quite, and those that have accepted defeat.
Writing 20, depending on your enrollment window, can be good or bad (i.e. if you're in the first enrollment window, you'll get the W20 that you want and work isn't work when you doing what you want!). Most Writing 20's have a typical three major essays (~8 pages) workload throughout the semester, akin to most classes that have three exams in the semester. However, if you have no interest in what you're writing about, it may become a drag. Keep in mind also that you WILL be reading for every class. So similar to how you will have homework for every class in Chinese, you will have reading for (almost) every class in Writing 20 (gotta leave room for some exceptions).
CompSci 101L does have a lab. You will have to code every single week in varying amounts and will have to complete a larger, harder assignment that will be due about every two weeks. It's not a difficult course, but it demands time, and even more time to do very well in the class.
Finally, Math 103 is pretty much the same as Math 102. Why the difference? Math 102 focuses on Econ and uses more Econ-ready examples. The other difference that a lot of people overlook at first is that in 102, you compete with Econ majors. In 103, you compete with Pratt students and everyone that has an inclination towards math. This does make the class harder simply because you're competing against kids that have better math skills.
All in all, you're taking a much more difficult course load than the lion's share of Trinity first-years. I'm not going to tell you that you can't do it, because I'm sure you can. It just may not be a lot of fun. Hope this helps!
I'm not sure how the Chinese department handles things now but when I started Chinese my freshmen year (in 2006), everyone had to take a placement test the weekend before class started. Then based on that, you were assigned a Chinese course to take. This is to make sure no one deliberately sign up for a class below their level with the intention of blowing the curve and making an easy A and also no one is in over his/her head. In addition, I heard (anecdotally) that anyone who lacks an American accent is automatically moved up from the beginner's Chinese course.
If this is still done, then my personal experience is that if you are fluent, grammatically correct, and can read and/or write, you'll skip all the Chinese language courses entirely and move onto the Chinese cultural courses like 170, 181, etc. I spoke fluently but couldn't really read or write much and ended up in 170 (classical Chinese) so that should tell you something. Before college I grew up in China until I was 9 before moving to the US but never went to Chinese school and forgot a lot of Chinese while in the US.
In terms of work, I'd expect Chinese to have homework every class with a mix of at least a mini-essay (1 page or so) a week, some vocab, some reading. It really depends on the class you end up in. The higher the level, the easier it is actually.
For math 103, remember that about 70-80% of Pratt is BME and at least 1/3 of those are premed. Since Math 103 also serves as one of the general weedout classes for engineering, expect a decent level of competition from the regular engineers as well as the neurotic premed engineers.
I have one more question. I have the first registration window for fall semester so that means I have the third window for spring semester. Math, Econ, and Chinese will not fill up regardless of my registration window right? So is it more advantageous for me to take my seminar in the fall? Can I take Writing 20 and my seminar in the fall and then take Chinese and Comp Sci in the Spring? Is taking 2 seminars doable time wise or even allowed?
If I want to keep my options open for math should I just take 103?
I got a full score on both the SAT and SAT II for Math as well as a 5 on BC Calc so I am fairly confident in my math ability, but does 102 have a much more lenient curve?
I would have to say that which professor you have is incredibly important, especially from my personal experience. If Duke still does math the way it was done (different profs teaching different sections of the same course) then you'll want to try to get a good prof. It makes a big difference.
And given Duke's tendency to rotate profs through difference courses, if you see a good prof, you may not get the chance to have one the next semester. Just something to consider.
SBR offers some wise advice here. Personally, I've found that if I have an exciting professor for a big lecture, then I will be more motivated to do well in the class even if I am only 1 of two hundred (those big numbers will ONLY be seen in the big intro classes like Intro to Econ, Intro to Psych, Intro to CompSci, etc.) If you get a tough professor in a big class, then the whole experience can become very challenging. So definitely be sensitive to which professors you have before you make any decisions
Another point, you don't get to choose WHEN you take your Writing 20. You are assigned to either take Writing 20 in the first semester or the second. You don't get the option here. I'm not going to pencil out the whole reasoning for that here because if you think about it for more than 5 seconds you can see the rationale.
Another assumption you're making that is incorrect is that your Chinese class and Math class will not fill up quickly. Math 102 only has about 20/25 students. Your Chinese class will certainly be closer to 15, especially if you're taking an intermediate level instead of the typical intro classes. (Econ, on the other hand, will not fill up.)
EDIT: This isn't to say that you should worry about NOT getting your Chinese/Math class, because you will. But an 11:40 Math/Chinese is different from an 8:30 class. So in the end, it's not that if you have the third registration window you won't be able to get into your classes, it just means you might not get the most CONVENIENT class or you may have to email the professor and see if they would be willing to add you into the class (which is certainly not unusual if the student is serious about the joining the class and takes the necessary steps such as emailing the professor, explaining the situation, meeting with him/her in person, etc.)
The curve will be more lenient for 102. If you want to keep your options open for majors, then you can take 103. As comfortable as you are with Math, understand that you will be challenged with either math course. 103 is one of those difficult classes that is meant to really make you think whether you want to major in Math, so don't expect to breeze past these courses the way you, and the majority of Dukies, did with Calc BC in high school.
Last edited by TheBlueDevil; 06-08-2012 at 04:38 PM.
Do you have a suggestion for which 4 courses I should take in the fall then to best take advantage of my 1st registration window? I thought that if I had 1st registration window then I would automatically be allowed to take Writing 20.
Taking a seminar is a good idea for the fall then right? so that I can get an interesting one?
And for Econ I heard that Nechyba was the best teacher, but it seems that he only teaches the class in the fall so I should def try to get him then this upcoming semester?
Also should I should I start trying to knock out some of the Modes of Inquiry 2nd semester? or take my prerequisite courses for my two majors first?
@Shamgod208: normally I'd say take Nechyba (a perennial favorite) and prioritize math (if you need to take it). Then I believe many people alternate seminar with writing 20 so if you have one first semester, take the other next semester. But do what you feel comfortable with based on what you want your schedule to look like, what your interests are, what courses you are required to take, and what your long term plans are.
So I got an email saying that I have to take Writing 20 in the Spring. This means that I'll have to register for it under the 3rd registration window. Does this mean that I won't be able to get a fun topic? and are there any Writing 20 classes that are just hard and there's no way to get a good grade? I am willing to do what it takes to get an A, but I don't want to have an unreasonable professor.
Also, if I take Chinese 181S- Language and Society this counts as my seminar and fulfills my foreign language requirement right?