As a Senior at Parsons, I had a bit of a surreal moment last week when I received an email from the school’s advising offices reading “final semester registration information.” After four years of looking up classes, drafting schedules, & waking up early to submit them the process has become sort of a routine. So as my second semester as a Senior at Parsons approaches I thought I’d share some of my insight into the University Undergraduate course selection and registration system:
First things First, the BFA curriculum requires that students across any major complete 120 credits (in a timely manner maintaining a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA) to achieve their degree. Transfer students may enter with a maximum of 60 credits. For incoming freshmen, regardless of your intended major, every design student goes through the First Year Curriculum. Adjusting to a university-style schedule can be confusing at first but can be broken down as follows: The first year curriculum at Parsons Requires students to take 15 credit hours (5-6 classes) each semester. This curriculum involves a series of courses tailored towards forming a fine arts/design foundation with emphasis on sustainable design practices.
Students will take a combination of studio and liberal arts courses each semester working towards their degree. Studio courses constitute the classes in which you are either working on art/design projects collaboratively or on your own, in the studio. Other studio courses include studio electives. Which are the art, design, or business courses you choose to take within your program’s curriculum to supplement your degree. Finally, each student is required a number of Liberal Arts/Humanities, History, and University Lecture courses as well. These courses generally make up your core curriculum. After the First Year, students follow a similar course outline, catering it towards their specified major. Major choice selection happens at the middle of second semester in the first year.
One of the biggest adjustments I had when coming to college, was the idea that I only had five or six classes meeting once or twice a week. Studio style classes typically meet once or twice a week for 3-6 hours. I remember reading my first college schedule and thinking “SIX HOURS FOR ONE CLASS?! How is this LEGAL?!” That being said, since enrolled at Parsons I’ve had courses that run as long as eight hours, them being some of the most productive courses I’ve ever taken. That being said, these longer classes are always allotted breaks for lunch/dinner depending on the time of day you have them. When studying techniques such as Model Drawing, Digital imaging, etc. the class time is used to learn the techniques to be practiced in class as well as later at home. The reason studio classes are budgeted with such long hours of class time, is that many of the courses require a good amount of time for set up, clean up, as well as warm-ups. I remember times when my best drawings came to me in the last twenty minutes of class. If it weren’t for the other 2 hours of warm up sketches, I may not have gotten to the illustrations I really liked.
Another adjustment was getting a grip on time management when it came to building a schedule. Some courses are offered in the mornings while others in the afternoons and evenings, so it may take you a semester or two, to realize if you are a morning or evening person. More often than not you can cater your schedule around having classes on a few specific days giving you a full day of classes in exchange for a day or two off during the week. On the other hand some people like having classes everyday of the work week to keep them on track with their projects, and on campus taking advantage of the studios. The biggest tip any parsons student will give is keeping on top of your work, so scheduling and time management are of utmost importance.
Warning, each registration season comes with a little heartbreak. And this is not just a New School phenomena. It seems that across all universities course registration is always a bit of a hassle. You may think you’ve planned it all out, and that you’ll have the perfect semester ahead of you, but unfortunately schedule building is not a perfect science. Some of the more popular studio electives for instance, are only are offered one or two times a week so they fill up faster, and once they are filled, you’ll have to resort to your second or third choice classes. It’s often good to create two or three schedules that you would be happy with so when it comes to registration day, you’re prepared with options. It wasn’t until this year that I finally had a foolproof schedule on the first try. Luckily, as the years go on, you get preferred registration times because of seniority, so, by the time you graduate, you’ll have taken all of your preferred courses.
So, interested in studying at Parsons? Want to see some of the classes we offer? Check out the University Course Catalog. http://www.newschool.edu/ucc/courses.aspx?Back=True#searchResultsMsg