Information for Incoming First Year Students
One potentially frustrating experience when starting at a new school is deciding what classes to take during the first semester of your first year. Hopefully this page will help to ease some of this unknown and make your initial course registration experience a pleasant one.
The athletic training faculty have tried to map out a general guide to follow so the first thing you need to do is print out the course guide for the interest you have:
4-Year Course Guide for Athletic Training students
4-Year Course Guide for Athletic Training/Pre-PT students
Take a moment to study this guide as its purpose is to give you a reference point from which to begin your planning.
If you are able to take all of the courses in the Course Guide that are listed for first semester first year students please do. That is the ideal option. The problem that sometimes occurs is when one or more of those courses have already filled or conflict with other classes. If you can’t get into all of the classes listed, don’t fret. The courses listed are all not a must take list but there are a few that you should make every effort to enroll.
The key classes to take are Human Anatomy and Physiology I, Chemistry, First Year Seminar and Introduction to Athletic Training. Although we list Chemistry as a first semester course, be sure that you are able to handle the workload difference between high school and college. Two science classes taken as a part of a 15 or 16 credit hour course-load will make for a heavy schedule if you do not have good study habits. If you don’t think you can handle both science courses, take the Human Anatomy and Physiology course and leave the Chemistry for another time.
I have three children in college and have encouraged all of them to take an easier first semester. I wanted them to succeed and by going a little lighter with their first semester courses it helped them transition more easily to life at college. This may be something that you too might want to consider. As a general guideline, 14-15 hours is a nice load for an average student while 17 hours is the absolute maximum and should only be considered by academically strong students.
If you decide to take chemistry, then the next item to consider is ‘which’ chemistry to take. Chemistry 105 is the ideal chemistry course to take if you have graduate school in mind. Students with an interest in a graduate school physical therapy or physician assistant program should take this course. Graduate schools will not accept Chemistry 103 because it is a chemistry course for students not majoring in the sciences. It’s a bit easier than Chemistry 105 and meets required competencies required within our major but is not one that graduate schools will accept if a graduate degree in the health sciences is desired. So think this through. If in doubt, take Chemistry 105 and you will be safe should you change your mind with respect to a career path in a few years.
So, let’s assume you want to take Anatomy, Chemistry, First Year Seminar, and Intro to Athletic Training. You have a course load of 12 credit hours with those classes. Most students will then look to the general education requirements and take one more 3-credit course to give themselves a 15-credit hour load. If you feel ambitious, you might want to take a 1-hour physical education activity course to increase your semester credits to 16.
If you feel that a lighter load is better for you, you may want to think about taking Chemistry during the summer between your first and sophomore years at home and take two general education courses instead. This will give you a 14 hour credit load. Regardless of what you decide, look to take a general education course from the list of required courses that are 100 or 200 level courses. Great courses to take are Oral Communications, Intro to Psychology, Language, and History. Stay away from the 300 level courses for now as they are meant for junior level students.
So, the first part of the enrolling process is to think about what to take. The second part is to make a plan.
Look on the Registrar’s tab of MCsquare and print off the list of the courses for the upcoming fall semester. Map out your ideal schedule. Then……. Think about the ‘what-ifs’. What if that course is closed, what will I do? Come up with alternatives. Select several First Year Seminar courses; chose a couple of Anatomy and Physiology and Chemistry Labs that will all fit in your schedule; pick three or four general education courses that will fit in your schedule to complete your course load and prioritize these in order of which ones you want to take most.
Now that you are ready, here is the most important single thing you can do to ensure that you get the classes you want: Find out the day and time that class registration opens for first year students and sign up for classes within a few minutes of that opening time. For example, if registration opens at 9am on June 10, then be ready at 9:01 to register. All you need in addition to the list of classes is the four-digit number that is listed just to the left of the course number in the course listings. For example, Chemistry 105 might be listed as “2298 CHEM 105A” General Chemistry”. What you will need when registering online is that four-digit course identifier. Once you have all of the identifier numbers, get on MCsquare and follow the instructions that will be sent to you. You’re all set. It’s as easy as that.
Finally, let’s touch on the GPA (grade point average) requirement for the athletic training major. At the end of your third semester at Messiah, you will be eligible to formally enter the major, provided you’ve taken the required athletic training courses and have a GPA of 2.5 or above. College is expensive and at Messiah, you pay the same tuition regardless of whether you take 12 or 18 credit hours. So it’s a real temptation to take more credits and stretch your dollar. My only suggestion to you as you make decisions with respect to finances is that you also make sure that you can handle the workload. College is so much more than high school. The amount of reading, writing, and outside work is significantly greater. Less time is spent in class on a particular topic and more ownership is placed on you to do your homework and reading and discipline yourself to study the notes you took in class. If you don’t feel that you can handle 17 credits then don’t take all of those classes. Taking a summer course at a community college or one online is a relatively economical way of catching up. Be smart when making this decision.
Well, that’s about all there is to choosing classes. If this information still leaves you with questions go to the link that lists the athletic training faculty and contact one of us. We will be more than willing to assist you. We wish you well as you work though this process.