Students recommend: top class picks from freshmen year

Students recommend: top class picks from freshmen year

Photo Credits: ANDREA GONZALEZ / AGGIE

Current first-years recommend SAS 13, HDE 12, PSC 1

One of the largest differences between high school and college that incoming freshmen often note is the newfound freedom to choose classes. The classic ‘one schedule fits all’ model, complete with an English, science, math and history class, is much less common in a university setting. 

Similarly, because many first-years have yet to fully decide on their major, they may opt for a more diverse schedule to help them find their passion. 

Students are able to pick from a wide array of options. There are over 100 different subjects to choose from on Schedule Builder — ranging from Anthropology to Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. While this assortment may seem daunting at first, there a few standard classes that most first-years seem to favor. 

Science and Society 13: Disease and Society, more commonly known as SAS 13, has gotten enthusiastic reviews from many students. The course has a five star rating on Rate My Professors, with a level of difficulty of 1.7 out of five. 

Arianne Bloore, a first-year animal science major, explained that the class was perfect to take as a freshman because the professor gave straightforward lectures and quizzes and was able to connect class concepts to the real world.

“Not only was the professor amazing, but he was really good at connecting what he was teaching to the world around us — like how philosophy influences society which influences how we treat disease as a human race,” Bloore said. 

Another popular course that many students register for is Human Development 12: Human Sexuality, or HDE 12. The class covers topics including development of sexuality, intimacy and reproductive health. 

Madelin Smith, a first-year biological sciences major, felt that HDE 12 benefitted her in a number of ways. Not only was the class manageable — being three units and meeting only two days a week — but it also taught her valuable information that her high school never addressed. 

“I think it’s really important for any person to learn about sexual health, and all of the things that come along with sexuality,” Smith said. “A lot of times, [sexuality is] seen as taboo and not talked about, when it really is important and should be discussed, especially on a college campus.” 

Smith also suggested that if freshmen are unsure of their major, they should take a few standard prerequisites to figure out what they may be passionate about — such as general chemistry, principles of economics or introduction to communication. 

Psychology is another field that many students choose to study. Psychology 1: General Psychology, or PSC 1, is one of the larger lower-division courses at Davis, enrolling around 500 students per quarter. 

First-year Virginia Beall confidently declared her psychology major after taking both PSC 1 and PSC 41. She explained that PSC 1 piqued her interest in the field, and after taking PSC 41 — the next prerequisite for the major — she was able to develop specific career goals. 

“Psychology 41 benefitted me as a freshman because it taught me a significant amount of statistics and research methodologies,” Beall said. “The psychology courses I took in college helped me realize how passionate I am about this major. These classes really truly helped me in deciding my future career of clinical psychology.” 

These are only a few of the classes that were named as top freshman class choices. The California Aggie has ranked NUT 10 as the “Best GE Course” several years in a row. Similarly, other individuals named VEN 3, ANT 2, PLS 21, HIS 80 and BIS 10 to be their first-year favorites. 

Written by: Claire Dodd — features@theaggie.org