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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Monday, March 29, 2004
Posted 11:40 AM by Brian D.
The F.A.Q.s of Scheduling Classes.

This will mostly apply to the 1Ls, but some upperclassman might find it useful. I have been asked by lots of people what classes they should take for next year. As they are usually the same questions I figured it would be best to post them here. Please keep in mind this is just my personal advice and others may disagree with me.

1. What classes should I take?
Okay, that is a very broad question. Here are my general rules of thumb to selecting possible classes.

First Rule: If you find a boutique class that is not offered very often and you would feel really bad not taking it, then take that class. Law and Animals, National Security and Foreign Relations, specialized classes like that. It always helps to take classes you are interested in because you will take plenty of classes that you do not like. Having one class you really look forward to is good for a mental boost.

Second Rule: take required classes. Luckily for you Professional Responsibility, Constitutional Law, and LARC III are offered all the time. Take at least one of those required classes in the fall. PR is required for many internships and clinics so it is important. Con Law is a requirement for a fair number of other advanced level classes.

Third Rule: take classes that are bar exam subjects. Business Associations, Criminal Procedure, Trusts and Estates, etc. It is good to have some exposure to those subjects before taking review classes and the Bar Exam itself.

Fourth Rule: any class that fits in your schedule and still maintains an average of 15 credits per semester. If you do not take any summer classes a full-time day student needs to average 15 credits per semester to graduate in 3 years. If the above rules do not fill up your schedule, then fine a class that fits in your schedule. That is a last ditch effort and you should not have to fall back on this rule. If you are a night student please adjust those numbers accordingly to your requirements.

2. Should I take two 4 credit classes in the same semester?
You can, but I personally do not recommend it. 4 credit classes involve a lot of work and having two of those just doubles your trouble. If taking two 4 credit classes is the only way to get your schedule to work the way you want it to, then that is fine. Just realize the downsides to it. Two 4 credit final exams will be quite a weight on your GPA, especially if a grade is not as high as you want. Also by spreading out your 4 credit classes throughout your career you will avoid taking 6 classes in one semester and having 6 final exams! One 4 credit class fills up a lot of good space on a schedule. If you really need or want to take 2 classes like Evidence and Con Law, then go for it. You will find some days are a grind though.

3. Should I take any summer classes?
If you are in town, then sure why not? Get two classes out of the way and it will free up your schedule down the road. If you take 4 credits in the summer session, then you could take one less class in both the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters and still be on track to graduate on time, and be able to relax a little bit during the year. I personally would recommend Professional Responsibility just so you get that little nagging required class out of the way.

4. Can I take both Law Review and LARC III/Moot Court at the same time?
First please realize that on April 2nd you will not be able to schedule Law Review for yourself, unless you are already on one. If you write onto a Law Review you will be able to register for it around the time classes start up in the fall. You will want to schedule a 2 credit class that you are willing to drop if you write-on to a Law Review or take if you do not write-on.

That being said, you will be doing a lot of research and writing for LARC III, writing your Moot Court brief, editing Law Review Notes and Articles, and performing research and some writing of your own Note for Law Review in the same semester. It will be a ton of work. It is doable, but I very much recommend taking some summer classes this summer or next summer so that you take only 12 or 13 credits in the Fall Semester if you take both LARC III/Moot Court and Law Review. I really wish I took my own advice.

5. Speaking of Law Review, if I can not register for it, then how do I get on one?
There will be several informational sessions coming over the next few weeks, but the nutshell is that you will write onto one. I would not count on being in the top 10 percent of your class to get an automatic invite because if you end up being wrong when the grades come out in June or July it will be too late to do anything about it. Do not be cocky as I have seen several people suddenly on the wrong side of the bell curve.

As you are leaving your last final exam several people will be handing out packets by the door. That packet contains a problem, several cases and statutes that you will need to write your memo on. You DO NOT perform any outside research as it is a self-contained problem. You will have about 3 weeks or so to write it. Go ahead and take the week off after finals to let your brain decompress. I spent about 4 hard days writing my memo. You can spread out that effort over the two weeks before the deadline and be in excellent shape while not really doing that much effort per day. The memo wil have a 6 or 7 page limit on it so it will not be that big.

P.S. read it out loud before you mail it in. You will be amazed at the mistakes you catch when you read it out loud.

6. I know what classes I want, but is there an order to how to schedule them?
If you know that you are wanting a popular class, register for that one first. If that class is full, then put it on the waitlist! You might still get in. Then continue down your list. Here is the best tip to give you: HAVE BACKUP CLASSES! For every class you want have a backup class ready so that if one is full, you can automatically put the one you want on waitlist, then select a predetermined backup class and then go on your merry way. The backup class can be the same date/time or something different as long as the classes you want or have on backup will not overlap time-wise. Time conflicts are not good. You absolutely do not want to randomly select classes just to have something scheduled.

7. Be sure to check the final exam schedules to the classes you want!
I think the reasoning behind this is pretty obvious. You can not be in two places at the same time, or you do not really want to take two final exams on the same day unless you just can not help it.

Good luck and I hope these tips from your Uncle Brian help you out.

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