UVA General Education Tracks (New College, Forums, or Traditional)


I have a couple more weeks to decide which gen ed track I want to follow, but even after reading about the details for each, I still am so unsure! I really want to make the best decision for myself. I’m not certain what I want to major in, but I’m leaning towards biochemistry or math (otherwise, another STEM) and a double major either in global studies or youth and social innovation.

The forums options for my class don’t particularly interest me… I find it amazing I could focus on one central theme throughout my college career, but because I’m not jumping up and down over the topics I don’t think it is the best idea for me. Still, I’m open to more info, because I’d like to make the most informed decision possible!

Really, my confusion lies between choosing the New College Curriculum or the Traditional Curriculum. They seem fairly similar. I fell in love with the idea of taking some of the specific engagements courses in the new, but I’m worried about wasting time since I am planning to double major. Any info would be sooo appreciated! If anyone has any details, good or bad experience, etc., I’m all ears! Thanks.

You should reach out to @seaotter17, who took the New College Curriculum last past year according to another thread.

@Globalist excuse the late response! I did reach out to him like you suggested. He was helpful. Thanks so much!

This is late, but I’ll post in case someone else stumbles upon this. I am a rising second year, and I am in the Forums. Since you want to do a STEM major, I completely agree that not taking the Forums is a good decision. The Forums were a really good idea, but they were not implemented all that great. It is pretty difficult to do anything STEM related or pre-med with the Forums. Even doing pre-comm with the Forums is a bit hard. If you know you are interested in something the topics relate to, then it is a great experience. However, besides the two seminars–which can be kind of cool–none of the other classes that are required really relate to the Forum, meaning the other requirements are basically more restrictive area requirements.

@WahooAS2021 do you know if you can change out of it once you start?

@VAMom23 You can change to traditional from New or Forums, but not the other way around. A lot of people drop out of the Forums in year two, because fourth semester is really hectic, with people applying to and deciding their majors. A lot of students don’t really see the point in completing a seminar for an introductory program when they have already declared a major. New curriculum is only a year, so it doesn’t have that problem as much, but people still drop out.

Thanks for the info @WahooAS2021! I knew the forums weren’t for me when I realized that, despite how interesting the subjects are, they are not geared towards the majors I am interested in… I definitely think the New College Curriculum gives a bit more freedom in that regard, even though they are both designed to allow you to pursue whatever major you’d like. I noticed in the Forums you had to choose from sets of specific courses to fulfill the requirements, whereas there are a wide variety of courses in the COAS that can fulfill New College requirements (besides the Engagements. You do have to choose from those specific courses for those requirements). There were only a couple math and science requirements that I saw in the Forums, so being more STEM oriented, it definitely made me think twice about how my time would be spent in that program. Still, it comes down to your own preferences/interests/goals, as well as the specific Forum you are drawn to. I think the more info you expose yourself to, whether by looking online or talking to students or faculty, the more clear the decision becomes.