We asked parents of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to think back to their student’s freshmen year and what they wish they had known. Their advice is below.
Let the student and their advisor come up with the semester class schedule. Stay out of it.
Do not hover when your student registers for their classes for the first time online. There are lots of choices to consider.
If you child wants to get in the business school, encourage them to get their pre-recs (calculus, economics and accounting) done before applications to the business school are due the second semester of sophomore year. So, calculus (or econ) first semester freshman year, economics (or calculus) second semester freshman year and accounting during summer school or the first semester of sophomore year. And, remind them that grades DO matter.
The great thing about Wake Forest is the wealth of subjects open to our students. Some may come in knowing just what they want to study and do with their lives (or think they do), while others, like my son, feel overwhelmed and have no idea. That is the joy of a liberal arts education. Students are encouraged to take classes in many different subject areas and in doing so may find a passion they did not know they had. I listened when my son was upset because he felt that he was the only one on his freshman hall with no idea what he wanted to major in but I was not really worried and in time it came to him. He is a second semester sophomore now and has chosen both a major and a minor (both subjects quite different from each other). It just takes longer for some to find their path.
Get the divisionals done early. You never know if you find your passion in one of those courses that you “have to take”.
Kudos to all incoming students who tested well enough on AP exams to place out of the intro class at Wake! However, if your student is going to major or minor in that subject, I would encourage them to take an intro course [in that same department]. This keeps the student on the same page as what the university is expecting. The bonus – while they are adjusting to freshman year, they are taking one class in a subject where they feel really competent in their abilities!
The first semester’s schedule might not turn out to be the same as the “perfect” schedule you plan out with your student in advance of the summer registration period, but that’s okay. It will all work out in the end (there’s a lot of time in future semesters to cover all divisionals and major requirements and electives!) But if you fear that your child’s schedule is missing a course that is absolutely essential to his/her success (or health or peace of mind), then do call the Office of Academic Advising to let them know about your concern and to see what advice/alternatives they might be able to offer.
[Editorial note: The comments have been minimally edited and grouped together for coherence. In come cases, comments were combined with others. When we had parents responding with the same advice, we repeated it for emphasis. In the event a parent offered advice that ran counter to what Wake Forest advises, it was not included. These comments represent the views of the parent commentators, not the views of the Office of Family Engagement (formerly Parent Programs office) or Wake Forest.]