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I really can't come up with an apt title. But those who went to college, please share your thoughts.

wolfwing123wolfwing123 122 replies18 threads Junior Member
I'm gonna be a freshman next year. So I have no idea how college works yet.
I was going through the course catalogs on myBama and found a whole lot of courses. I mean a whole LOT of interesting courses (I'm talking about courses not in my major)

I found this Guitar class for non-majors, Voice classes, creativity classes, learn French, and the list goes on. They're the kind of stuff you always wanted to learn, but you never had the time or money.

So does college really work in this way where you explore the things you've always wanted? And learn to play musical instruments or whatever? Or will it be hard to do this stuff being an engineering major?

From a REALISTIC point of view, do students really make use of all these opportunities? Or are they pretty much occupied with studies for their major all the time?

I'm actually planning to bring my guitar(which I don't know to play) after seeing these classes.
College seems like heaven if all this is true.
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Replies to: I really can't come up with an apt title. But those who went to college, please share your thoughts.

  • wolfwing123wolfwing123 122 replies18 threads Junior Member
    I've kinda only seen colleges in my country. And they work 9am-5pm 6 days/week with classes pertaining only to your major. So this kind of stuff seems too good to be true for me.
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  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 threads Senior Member
    It looks like the catalog might have pages for each degree program; look yours up and see if there's a recommended course plan. For example, this appears to be the one for CivE: https://catalog.ua.edu/undergraduate/engineering/civil-construction-environmental/civil-engineering-bs/#requirementstext

    So you can see which semesters have spots open for "general education" electives. Maybe guitar would fall under "fine arts" or something like that? I'm sure you can look that classification up as well.

    At a different school, I've had the opportunity to take Spanish, geography, criminology, and economics as electives alongside my engineering program. You might not have as much space for them as you'd like, but there's often room for some, at least.
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  • wolfwing123wolfwing123 122 replies18 threads Junior Member
    @bodangles . Are students are allowed to take classes that aren't necessary according to the recommended course plan? Like an extra class I just wanna attend.
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  • bodanglesbodangles 8628 replies557 threads Senior Member
    I will defer to someone who knows UA for the school-specific answer, but generally -- you're usually allowed, but with so many required classes in engineering, you may or may not have the time to.
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  • Wien2NCWien2NC 1042 replies19 threads Senior Member
    @wolfwing123

    sure. my wife studied chemical engineering and she took a horse riding class. i took a bunch of filmmaking and TV production classes, played intramural sports, and did sportscasting for the school radio station..

    you will have a pretty full schedule with the Engineering curriculum (calculus, physics, chem, courses in specific engineering discipline), plus I suppose you will take 1 or 2 Freshman English Composition classes, and some other electives spread out over a few liberal arts areas (social sciences, arts and humanities). but you will likely have spaces in your class schedule here and there where you can take classes in whatever you want.

    you could also take an additional class above the typical 15-16 credit semester workload, as long as it is more of a fun easy class that will not detract to much from your study time.

    and you can explore many interests without necessarily taking classes, just by exploring the many clubs and student organizations at such a large school. you could find a Beginners Guitar Club, a Vocal Club, a French Club, a Drama Club to get involved in a play, or you could start a club. that way you could miss a week or two during a busy stretch of the semester, without worrying about your grade. you could easily find so much to be involved with in terms of clubs and student organizations, that you might not have time to fit in another class.
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  • aeromomaeromom 2627 replies82 threads Senior Member
    Beware the prices of some music courses. At one point my son was billed over $1000 for a 1-credit hour string bass lesson class, because he was not a music major and was out of state. We had to ask for specific permission to have this covered by the Pres scholarship at the time. (We still had to pay a hefty 'course fee' of $250.) I have no idea what the procedure is now, or if scholarship would pay for this or not.
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  • Roo17Roo17 309 replies4 threads Member
    Make sure you check Degree Works to see the gen ed courses that you will need as well as the courses you must take towards your major..some of the courses you mentioned may fit in as a gen ed course and some may not. Whatever time you have left after you fit those required courses in can be filled with the interesting courses you were looking at.
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  • SouthlanderSouthlander 1041 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    I believe that even in engineering majors, there are two or three spots for "fun" courses. I was in Arts and Sciences, so my "fun" courses included film, popular culture, German 101, garment sewing, and art history, and I had almost enough Spanish courses for a minor. I did something "fun" almost every semester, but then I was in A&S. You don't have that much leeway in business and engineering.
    edited March 2017
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  • dodgersmomdodgersmom 6467 replies846 threads Senior Member
    My computer science major son is doing three (yes, three!) minors that are completely unrelated to his major, and when he started out, he thought he'd be doing premed, so he also took a premed class he ended up not really needing. He also did 6 hours of STEM to MBA, and another 3 (or 6?) hours of EMT training. In addition, he learned how to play golf and took a photography class!

    So, if you add up all the hours he's spent doing things other than his major . . . well, it's almost as many as he's spent in his major. (Actually, I think it may actually be more!)

    So, yes, you will absolutely have the opportunity to explore at least some, if not all, of the different things you're interested in. That extra time is actually built into your schedule - in order to graduate with a degree in engineering, you are required to take at least 24 credit hours that are not in engineering. How much extra time you'll actually get depends on your major - in computer science, for example, there's more time for non-engineering classes than in aerospace or mechanical engineering.

    I don't know anything about fees - there may indeed by fees for music instruction and voice lessons. But there may be student-run clubs where you can also pursue these interests at no charge.
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