Your first year isn't really about a major; it's about opening doors and taking advantage of the breadth of courses Davidson offers. Taking a diverse group of courses in your first year gives you a huge advantage and opens you up to interests you didn't know you had.

Tips For Choosing Your First-Year Courses

As you explore the course offerings for the fall on the Course Schedule, you may find dozens of courses you want to take and figuring out which ones to take may be overwhelming. Remember you have four years to take these classes. You will, however, need to eventually narrow down that list to enter them into WebTree, our tool for collecting your course preferences.

An ideal class schedule for your first semester would consist of a balanced set of classes that engage you in different ways of knowing.

You can begin by looking at courses that fulfill your Ways of Knowing (general education) requirements. These courses precede and support more specialized courses and are the core of your education. Additionally, a course that satisfies the Justice, Equality, and Community (JEC) requirement or a course that satisfies the Cultural Diversity (CULT) requirement should also be considered.

Your first year is a good time to get started on your Foreign Language requirement by continuing to study a foreign language or beginning to study a new one.

Every student must satisfy the Writing requirement their first year at Davidson. You can fulfill this requirement by taking a course listed under the Writing Program designated as WRI 101 or by completing the Humanities 103-104 sequence. Students enrolling in the full-year Humanities 103-104 sequence normally take only two other courses in the fall semester and three other courses in the spring semester. The program includes a mandatory pre-orientation.

Additional Tips

  • There is no advantage to completing WebTree on the first day it is open versus the last day, but students are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last day in case questions arise.
  • On the class schedule, "R" in the Days column stands for Thursday.
  • Check the Notes column on the class schedule to make you are allowed to take the course.
    • If a class has a PRQ (prerequisite) note, read the catalog description to see if you might have the prerequisite.
    • If a class has a PRM (permission) note, you will need the instructor's permission to register for the course, and this is done during the first week of classes via our Add/Drop process.
  • Some classes meet a Ways of Knowing requirement as well as the JEC (Justice, Equality, and Community) or CULT (Cultural Diversity) requirement.
  • A general rule is that lower course numbers have more broad content and the higher the number the more focused the material.
  • First-years are not restricted to 100-level classes unless specifically noted in the Notes column.
  • The Director of Premedicine and Allied Health Professions advises against taking two lab-science courses in your first semester.
  • Some classes are offered multiple times, designated by sections. By including multiple sections of the same course in WebTree, the chances of receiving that class increase.
  • Consider balance as you are looking at the meeting times and days of the various courses.
  • Do not include military science (MIL) courses in WebTree. Contact ROTC directly if you are interested and they will register you during the Add/Drop period.
  • Do not include Independent Study courses in WebTree. They are listed in the class schedule to make students aware they are an option, but since they are an agreement between a student and faculty member, they should not be included in WebTree.
  • Some courses are cross-listed, meaning the same course is offered under two subjects. For example, if EDU 290's course title is "REG FOR AFR 290 CRN 12345," it means register for AFR 290 - NOT EDU 290, and the CRN for the course you should register for is 12345.
  • Do not include PE Classes in WebTree. Complete instructions for registering for PE classes are available on the Physical Education site.

Holistic Advising

Davidson's Holistic Advising Program provides first- and second-year students holistic, ongoing, pre-major support up to the time you declare a major.

During New Student Orientation you will meet with your pre-major, Holistic Adviser to review your initial schedule and make any necessary changes during the add/drop period.

Prior to meeting your Holistic Adviser, please reach out to a Summer Adviser should you have any questions about the initial course registration process.