Freshman Scheduling Advice

<p>My preferred schedule as of now:
Phys 170 (honors physics) I took ap mechanics in high school and did well, so I’ll have already done the majority of the material (but probably at a slightly lower level)
Math 116 (honors version of math 114 for math/science-oriented people. Only available since 2008)
German 106 (my advisor said I should look at this because it’s accelerated)
Writing Seminar (if I can’t get one I like, I’ll probably take it in the spring and just take a seminar in the fall)</p>

<p>Would this be too much for first term freshman year? The phys and math courses are, according to my advisor, the typical starting ones for a phys/math major (which I plan on being as of now).
Also, how rough is german 106 compared to 101? This would probably be the easiest place to cut back if it’s necessary. I should say that I am taking german out of interest and to keep the door open to some phd programs, but languages are not my greatest strength (I got straight A’s in AP spanish in high school and tested out of the language requirement via the sat 2, but that doesn’t mean I’m capable of doing well with german at penn without working pretty hard). Of course, I don’t want to end up bored in german 101 either. I’d like to be able to speak it pretty well, but I get really bored once the class turns into more of an English class in another language, so I’m not sure how far I’ll go with it.</p>

<p>Since AP scores won’t be out until I’ve completed advanced registration, should I just register based on what I’m expecting to get? The only class this matters for is math, and I’m expecting a 5 on BC.
Thanks so much! If worst comes to worst, I can always just use the shopping period in the fall.</p>

<p>Less texty form:
1. Is this schedule too heavy?
2. Should I take german 106 or 101?
3. What should I do about AP scores?
4. For people who have picked up languages for similar reasons: did you take it all four years at penn?</p>

<p>So this schedule seems very ambitious for a first semester freshman schedule. Typically freshmen in the college take four courses; the one you propose is the equivalent five... and of those four courses, two are extremely difficult. I've never taken physics at Penn, but everyone I know who has taken PHYS170 has said that it's the work of two courses! MATH114 is difficult in and of itself; an honors version of that is something that I would really only recommend if you've already done a good bit of multivariable calculus. MATH114's average grade is usually somewhere in the 65-75% range, which makes that range a B, and it tends to be real difficult to get over 80% unless you're awesome at it. That said, if you really are great at math, an honors version might be right for you. </p>

<p>About the German, I've taken a lot of German courses at Penn, and I can tell you that GRMN really doesn't turn into an English course unless you decide to taken literature classes. Once you get out of the language instruction series, it gets super interesting. Even the 100 level courses are fun. I didn't take 101, but 102 was decent; 103 started to get into the culture of Germany as well as its history, and 104 went more into conversation. GRMN215 is the fifth-level (third year) of the course, which I actually took abroad in Berlin last summer... obviously there are differences, so I can't speak to 215, but I took 221, which is the highest level German language course and is actually exclusively about grammar and stylistics. I've also taken 378, which is about immigration and its history in Germany. I've taken a few others, but yeah those are the highlights. Basically what I'm trying to say is that Penn's German department is damn awesome. </p>

<p>I am not particularly interested in languages, so I'm not taking it next year in my senior year, but it was well worth it to have a minor in language. </p>

<p>To answer your questions directly...</p>

<ol>
<li>Yes. Many people would suggest that you go to courses the first week and see how hard they are, but that isn't very wise, since courses are never indicative of their real difficulty in the first week. If you do want to do that, make sure before you go in that you have the option to drop to the regular version of courses. You can definitely drop from GRMN106 to GRMN101, but I don't know about MATH or PHYS. I make this suggestion because many courses really get hard after the add period ends. </li>
<li>Depends on what you want. If it's true interest, go for 106, but recognize that you probably won't be bored by 101.</li>
<li>Don't worry about it.</li>
<li>3 out of 4.</li>
</ol>

<p>You could start off in 170 and 116 and see how things go and switch to 150/114 respectively if you find it too overwhelming. A couple of my friends did just that during freshmen year (think only one of them stuck with 170 - she's now a physics major - and all of them ended up dropping 116, although they later found out the curve was more generous in 116 to compensate for the much more difficult material) 116 from what I understand is very theoretical/proof-oriented, so if that's what you're interested in, give it a shot.</p>

<p>Phys 170 is tough, no doubt about it. The thing about the course is that its really thought provoking....your easiest problems in Phys 170 prob sets are prob as hard or harder than the hardest probs in Phys 150 problem sets. </p>

<p>I would recommend you to take it only if you have a great interest in Physics and don't mind doing a ton of extra work for probably a really enlightening experience.</p>