Advising and Course Selection


There are a number of ways to maximize your strengths. Focusing on what YOU can control is important. Course selection (size, format, days/times) and schedule creation (credit hours, types of courses, days of the week) are choices you can make.

Considering Disability-Related Needs in Schedule/Course Selection:

What should an academic adviser know to help you create a manageable schedule?

  • More alert, do better in early morning;
  • Joints, body ache in early morning;
  • Topics regarding 'x' trigger reaction (e.g. seizure, anxiety, post traumatic stress);
  • Difficult topics require more time (e.g. math, foreign language);
  • Need time to eat and take medication(s) at certain time(s) of the day.

What factors/variables are important in choosing your schedule?

  • Class format (small group discussion v. large lecture);
  • Teaching style;
  • Exam format (essay v. multiple choice);
  • Amount of reading;
  • Number of credit hours (desired or manageable v. advised or required)

Course Selection:

Is math an area of difficulty for you?

  • Create a schedule that will allow more time for difficult topics — fewer credit hours — for that semester.
  • Discuss taking the course(s) in the summer, at another school (e.g., community college) or with an SLA.

How do you handle a lot of reading?

  • Inquire how much reading is required in the courses you will be taking.
  • Get texts early and begin reading ahead.
  • Ask about books on tape or other means of reading texts.

Differences to Consider:

M/W/F classes are approximately 50 minutes long; T/Th classes are approximately 75 minutes hours long

  • What difference does that make for you?
  • Number days/week of being in-class for continuity, practice, (2 v. 3 days/week);
  • Amount of time required to pay attention, be seated in class (1 v. 1.5 hours).

What about large classes v. small classes?

  • Options of how to meet needs;
  • Permission from instructor for enrollment in full courses;
  • Different course for same requirement;
  • Take in summer v. fall v. spring (be sure course is offered that semester);
  • Ability to hear, see, focus, interact;
  • Ask about "priority enrollment" as appropriate option.

How many hours do you think you want to take?

  • Rule-of-thumb is 1 hour in class = 2-3 hours out-of-class preparation;
  • Impact on scholarship, financial aid, vocational rehab, other;
  • Concern of time (years to graduate, cost) v. level of achievement (GPA).

When are you most alert? Is there anything that would affect you taking morning classes? Afternoon classes? Evening classes? How much time should you allow between classes?

  • Amount of time necessary to get to next class (look at the map).
  • Ability to get organized before beginning class, to re-focus.
  • Possible time necessary to prepare for class (e.g., read, write lab report, review notes, complete project).
  • Desired time to relax, study, eat, take medication(s), etc.

Course Style:

  • Teaching styles — how do you learn best (lecture, participation, read on own)?
  • Test formats — explain to the academic advisor or consider how you do on different types of tests (multiple choice, essay, short answer).