“Is _____ a Bird Course?” Part 3: How to Pick the Right Course

In the previous article, we discussed the potential harms of labeling something as a bird course. Now that I’ve scared you all away from any course that sounds remotely easy, I am going to provide you with the answer to the next burning question in your mind:

“How do I pick the right course?”

Image result for thinking meme

Remember: despite all of the ranting, it is important to make sure you’re not burdening yourself with too many courses. I struggled with this a lot and am suffering from the million assignments I constantly have to do, but thanks to my fifth lighter credit, it isn’t as bad as it could be. There needs to be a balance.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing any course at all is RESEARCH AND EVALUATION. What’s it about? How many credits? What is the average usually like? Does it look like something you’re interested in? Is the course load going to benefit you, or work against you?

For example, let’s say you’re taking three sciences. An assignment heavy course such as education studies may look easy, but it won’t compliment your three lab reports well. In this case, it would be best to go with a course that is lecture-only.

What if you have lots of tests and quizzes, but not a lot of work during the week? Taking something like sociology might make your life a little more stressful since you’ll have lots of tests and readings to do. You might want to give yourself a few projects to work on by taking an assignment-only course, which frees your study time up for studying the lectures that matter.

It’s also beneficial to consider the credit/no credit option UTM offers. Simply put, if it’s a distribution requirement only (as in, you don’t need it for your program), you can give it a credit/no credit which means you only need to pass the course to fulfill it, and it doesn’t add up to your cGPA. That way, you can focus your energy on courses you need to enter your program.

Check out the link for more info: http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/forms-services/crncr

TLDR? Quick Guidelines

Debating about a course? Here’s how to make the most informed decision:

  1. Have I fulfilled all of my main program requirements?
    • YES: Give it a try!
    • NO: Rethink it.
  2. Do I need it to fulfill a distribution requirement?
    • YES: Give it a try!
    • NO: Rethink it.
  3. Am I interested/passionate in this course?
    • YES: Give it a try!
    • NO: Rethink it.
  4. Will this course lower my burden/make my university experience more comfortable?
    • YES: Give it a try!
    • NO: Rethink it.
  5. Will it benefit me in any way? (Skills, perspectives, opinions, etc)?
    • YES: Give it a try!
    • NO: Rethink it.

The more YES you answered, the better!

Making an informed choice is difficult, but with the right guidance you’ll be able to pick the right course for you. “Bird courses” don’t have to be harmful; they can prove to be a wonderful asset, if you choose them the right way.

But perhaps the most important lesson from this entire article, if anything, comes in the form of the following reminder:


Image result for justin trudeau drops mic meme


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