Basic Guide to Courses for Brandeisians

We all know that the Brandeis students are of a completely different breed.  We can all relate to each other for one reason or another – that main reason being our Brandeisian pride.  Here is an unofficial guide to Brandeis courses:

INTERESTS:
First off, high school and college are extremely different. If you found that you did not particularly excel in something during your high school career, do not be turned off from this subject matter in college. Courses are taught differently and who knows, you may be avoiding a course that you would do really well in. It could be a potential major, minor, or career path to take after undergrad. It is also important to keep in mind that as much as your parents may want you to pursue an undergraduate degree in Art History, Biology, or Mathematics, this is your time to shine and find something that you are passionate in. If you choose a major or minor based off of what your parents want you could ultimately be stuck in a career that you do not enjoy.

SHOPPING PERIOD:
For those of you new to Brandeis, you may not fully understand the “Shopping Period” that we offer during the Fall and Spring semesters. The shopping period is self-explanatory, it is a two week period where you can try out different courses and see what you are most interested in or what fits your schedule best. No one wants to be stuck in a course that might drop his or her GPA. Also, why bother taking a course if you know that you won’t enjoy it and get all that you can out of it?

DON’T OVERWHELM YOURSELF:
Upon your arrival it may have appeared that every upperclassman had eight majors and sixteen minors. this is not the case! Some people are fortunate enough to have found different subject matters that interest them and they chose to pursue undergraduate degrees in those various subjects, but it is perfectly fine to only have one major. However, if you do find other courses that spark your interest, then take a few more classes in it. If you find that you can devote the time and energy into declaring a major or minor in it, then talk to your advisor and find out if he or she thinks it would be beneficial to you and your academic resumé.

BUILD A SPREADSHEET:
Organization is key. I have found that what helps me most is designing a spread sheet that clearly distinguishes each semester and the possible courses that are available and would fulfill my major, minor, and/or university requirements.  This way, you don’t find yourself in your eighth semester begging a professor to let you into a class before you didn’t realize that you forgot a major/minor/university requirement somewhere along the way.

DON’T BE AFRAID OF SUMMER SCHOOL:
Granted, in high school, Summer School seemed like a punishment for those who didn’t necessarily do as well as they could/should have in a particular course. In College, the concept of Summer School is completely different. In fact, it might be the students that are more proactive in their studies who enroll in summer courses. People enroll for a multitude of reasons. Maybe you have an internship in Waltham, Boston, or the surrounding area. Perhaps you want to double major and you wouldn’t normally have enough time to complete all of the requirements in your seven or eight semesters at Brandeis. These are just a few of the many reasons why students partake in the Summer Program here at Brandeis University.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog to hear about more Summer School updates as well as Brandeis updates.

Waltham’s Easy Accessibility

Whether you are commuting from across town, across the country, or from across the globe, Waltham is an extremely accessible town.  It is exceptionally easy to maneuver within the town as well.  With the numerous modes of transportation close to campus, you will never feel immobile.

The Commuter Rail is a fast, easy way to get to Boston or Cambridge.  Schedules change with the holidays and weekends, but all schedules are available online.  The train stops at the Brandeis-Roberts station at the south edge of campus, along South Street across from the Epstein Service Center.  Make sure you get there a few minutes before your train is supposed to arrive!  The train goes east to Waltham, Belmont, Cambridge and North Station in Boston. In Cambridge, the train stops at the Porter Square station, where connections can be made to the Red Line of Boston’s ‘T’ subway system. In Boston, the train stops at North Station, where you can get on both the Green and Orange Lines of the ‘T’. These have connections to all other lines of the subway system.

Buses are your ideal mode of transportation if you want to go into Boston.  They can take you pretty much anywhere that you would like to go within the city.  The number 553 bus runs by Brandeis, goes through the center of Waltham and into Newton. It’s a great way to get moving for those who do not have a car or for those who do not like to drive as often.

For Zipcar, you only need to be 18+ to join.Members age 18-20 can use a dedicated group of Zipcars that live on campus. Members age 21+ also have access to thousands of Zipcars all around the world. Find cars on or around the Brandeis campus.

For those who need to travel high in the sky to get to the Brandeis campus, don’t fret!  Logan International Airport is incredibly close to the school.  If you ever need to get to or from the airport ask a friend to drive you, split a cab with some friends, or call a cab yourself.

If you plan on hitting the highways, then luckily for y’all Brandeis is located right off of i95 and the Massachusetts Turnpike!  Getting here from New York and neighboring states is fairly easy, but if you want you can always check out a map or GPS.

Speaking of the easy drive from New York, some of you may be interested in reserving a spot on one of the large coach buses that make rounds every day.  You can book a seat for about $20 and you can dropped off in various locations depending on where you need to be in New York.

If you have any suggestions that worked well for you, please feel free to comment on the blog post to help out your fellow Brandeisians.

Why Brandeis?

If you are already a member of the Brandeisian community, then you don’t really need to ask, “Why Brandeis?”  You might not know the answer, but you do have that gut feeling that this is home.  When thinking about the struggles that one may have regarding transferring credits, new architectural campus schemes, new professors, and unfamiliar rules and regulations- you might be a little hesitant to enroll in any type of summer school.  However, if you have already spent one semester or more, then you already have the hang of the Brandeis system.

If you have decided to enroll in the Brandeis Summer Program as a non-Brandeis Student, well then you are in luck because the campus offers maps for all those that need help.  Not to mention that if you have an iPhone, then you can download the Brandeis Campus App which is fully equipped with a map of the campus.  In this day and age, no one will get lost on their way to his or her first class.  If getting lost was the last thing on your mind, and you were more concerned about the academics, whether it would be too difficult or a walk in the park, there are ways to facilitate each and everyone’s learning experiences.  The professors and TA’s will guide you through every part of the class, but you need to put in the effort as well.  If you are uncertain about which particular level of a course you should take, then send an email and get a second opinion.  Professors are here to help and are valuable resources to anyone who needs.

 

Helpful Tips for Brandeis Summer School

As an extension from the “Basic Guide to Courses for Brandeisians,” here are some helpful tips for mastering Brandeis Summer School:

1.  Browse early!  Even though Registration does not open until early April, take the next few weeks to figure out what type of course you are looking for.  Whether, it is to fulfill a major or minor requirement, University requirement, or a you just want to knock out some extra credits over the summer, there are plenty of courses to choose from!

2.  Talk with an advisor!  There is no time like the present to declare a major or minor.  It is not set in stone until a certain point in your undergraduate career.  You might as well see what an advisor or department head has to say about your ideal course sequence.  Perhaps he or she has some suggestions for you to get a better understanding of a major or minor if you are currently on the fence.

3. Remember, there’s no shopping period for Summer Courses.  Since the Summer Calendar is much more compact, this leaves little to no room for experimenting with different courses.  If you enroll in a course, be sure that it is the one you want to take.

4.  Do not fall behind with deadlines.  If you keep pushing back your work, more and more tasks will pile up leaving an overwhelmingly large to-do list.

5.  Talk with students who have taken Summer Courses in the past.  See what they thought about the work environment, work load, professors, and their overall thoughts about Brandeis in the Summer.

6.  Work out the financials.  As college students, we all know that it is great to have a little extra pocket money for our extravagant expenses.  Do you need a paid summer internship?  This could play a huge role when deciding to take summer courses and if so, which module.

7.  Need to do an internship for a major or minor?  Check out the Brandeis Summer Internship opportunities!

8.  Transfer/Midyear/Abroad?  If any of these apply, make sure you will have enough credits to graduate on time.  Credits should not be the reason why anyone does not walk with his or her class.

9.  What about housing?  Brandeis University offers housing for undergraduate students, but if you would prefer to live off campus, there are many rooms that are available for sublets.

10.  If choosing to enroll in Summer Courses, remember to keep things in perspective!  You can still enjoy the Summer weather, beaches, and barbecues, but you decided to come to the University to  learn and satisfy requirements.

All in all, remember to have fun!  College is one of the best times of your life.  Take in all the knowledge that you are receiving and start each day with a breath of fresh air!  At times it may seem tough, but we all got into Brandeis some how.  You can do it and do it well!

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