May 2013
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Choosing an FYS

By now, if you’re a high school senior who has committed to attending McDaniel this fall, you’re in the middle of taking a number of steps to ready you for coming to McDaniel in August. One the most important of those steps is choosing your First Year Seminar class, more commonly known as an FYS.

The FYS classes are fun classes with a variety of themes in a number of disciplines. Because they’re designed for first-year students, they’re not too difficult, and your instructor and a McDaniel student called a peer mentor who is assigned to your class will help you transition to college life and work.

Students who are coming to the College in the fall should rank at least five FYS choices so they can be matched with one of their choice. When I chose my FYS two years, I had a hard time picking, because so many of the courses sounded interesting and fun! Here are some tips for ranking your FYS picks:

Choose what sounds interesting to YOU. Seriously, this is the most important piece of advice I can offer you when it comes to choosing an FYS. Don’t choose an FYS based on what your parents think is cool or relevant. You’re in college now, and your FYS can be your decision. Also, don’t choose an FYS because someone you met on Facebook that he or she is or isn’t choosing it. The only person who matters in this process is you, and there’s bound to be something you like.

Don’t be afraid to choose an FYS outside of your discipline. McDaniel College is a liberal arts college, which means that you have the freedom to explore a variety of subjects. If you have your heart set on one major, but you like an FYS that sounds completely unrelated to that, don’t be afraid to choose that FYS anyway. (With a few exceptions, FYS classes don’t count toward majors anyway.) Your FYS can be a chance to explore a topic that you may never get a chance to explore again. It can also be a great way to discover a new passion!

Choose carefully. This year, students have the option to rank all of the FYS classes on a 1 to 9 scale based on their levels of interest in each course. Take advantage of the flexibility this gives you. Not only can you show which courses you are really interested in, but you can also tell the system which courses you absolutely want nothing to do with. However, I tell you to choose carefully because once you’re assigned an FYS, you can’t pick a different one. (Otherwise, lots of people would change their assignments and chaos would ensue!) So remember, pick classes that you genuinely really like!

You have until June 5 to submit your selections, and looking at the form, you have a lot of really cool choices this year. To find the FYS form and other first-year to-dos, go here. (If you’re not an incoming first-year student and you’d like to see the FYS courses, go here and select FYS in the “Prefix” dropdown. Not all FYS courses are offered every year.) Best of luck getting into your perfect FYS.

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