Capstone and other applied-skills courses are invaluable pieces of the academic puzzle, but some students are not taking them until their final semesters, which may be unfavorable for their education and career goals.
Every student should take scheduling and advising seriously so they can take courses in the best order for maximum learning, self-improvement and timely graduation. As a forest management major, I have an experience different from others on campus, although similar in many ways.
I never considered the influence that class sequence may have on my education and career until I was preparing to finish my summer job last August, the first I’ve had in my field. I reflected on the summer and the decisions that had gotten me to that point.
I thought about my education and wished I had taken my capstone and other critical courses sooner because the things I learned in those classes were so relevant to the forest management operations of my employer.
If I had taken those courses sooner, I could have made more meaningful connections in subsequent classes and felt more confident applying for jobs.
My professors and employer agreed taking certain courses sooner would be a good thing but noted that most students are not prepared to take them before their junior or senior year. Prerequisite classes and a suite of scheduling issues, they said, tend to delay these courses until the end.
While it can be difficult to schedule an entire college career in order to take critical classes sooner, it is important to consider. Like myself, many students unknowingly set themselves up to take the most enlightening classes the semester before they graduate, which is unfortunate.
College is a long process, and every class has tremendous value. There is not an incorrect way to graduate, but there are ways to graduate efficiently.