Which College Course Should You Take First?

Which College Course Should You Take First?
Beth Dumbauld

By Danika Rockett, Ph.D.

English 101? College Algebra? Biology? US History?

With so many affordable online general education courses to choose from, you are not alone if you have found yourself wondering where to start. So, is there a particular course that you should take first?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors, including which courses are included in your specific degree plan and what your strengths (and weaknesses) are as a student. To help you with these important decisions, here are some tips to get you started on the path toward the college degree you have always wanted:

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First, consider your strong points from an academic perspective. For instance, is writing usually your strongest subject? Or perhaps you consider yourself a “math person.” Especially when you are first starting out as a college student, the best approach is to start strong, which means taking a course that you are likely to do well in. When students struggle with courses early in their college careers, they are far less likely to finish their degrees.

"When students struggle with courses early in their college careers, they are far less likely to finish their degrees."

If you feel that you are more or less equal when it comes to academic subject areas, consider taking a basic writing course first–perhaps English 099 or English 101, depending on what your degree plan suggests. Developing good writing habits will provide a strong foundation as you start out and can lead to success in many other courses. And speaking of success …

If you want to learn some strategies for time management, reading comprehension, effective note-taking, and many other valuable skills, consider starting with our Student Success course. You’ll learn how to improve your study habits so you can make the most of your college career.

We have close to 60 general education courses to choose from, so the few examples listed here are only a small sampling of what you might select. Just be sure to consult your degree plan, and try to choose a course that you have a genuine interest in taking.

The bottom line is that you will be much more likely to succeed in pursuit of your degree if you start off on the right foot, so keep these tips in mind as you plan for your future at StraighterLine and beyond.

Not sure where to start? Get your free personalized degree plan today!

About the Author: Danika Rockett, Ph.D., is a course manager at StraighterLine specializing in English composition and communication. As a former English and Technical Communication professor, she manages all courses that involve qualitative assessment; she also helps develop and improve course content.  She has nearly 10 years of university teaching experience, both online and in the classroom.

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