Tips for Freshmen
Tips for Freshmen

Reminders on Registration / Academic Matters

1. Get your Form 5 after the registration period or you’ll be removed from the class lists of your subjects. Wait for updates from CAS on how this should be done.

2. Be aware of subject prerequisites. Do not take subjects you know you have not satisfied the prerequisite for.

3. Don’t get random subjects. There’s a prescribed list of core subjects for you to take, and a list of possible electives. If you want to take a course outside this list you need your adviser’s approval. Consult with them first.

4. Do not Underload. The minimum number of subjects that you should take in your freshman year is 15 units until you are in your 3rd year when your minimum will be 18. Consult the curriculum pamphlet for the recommended number of units per semester.

If you drop a subject mid-semester, you don’t get credit for those units. If underloading is unavoidable (e.g. total lack of subjects due to shifting issues), get an underload permit or you will be disqualified from latin honors when you graduate. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “My grades aren’t great so I don’t need the permit”. You never know.

5. GE Plan (aka GE Plan of Study): GE stands for “General Education”. These are subjects not necessarily related to your course. The purpose of these subjects is to make your education more well-rounded. These are in the fields of social sciences, math, arts & humanities, or natural sciences You need to process your GE plan during the 1st semester of your 1st year. There are some required GE courses. But 3 GE courses you can pick for yourself.

6. Plan of study (aka Elective Plan of Study): This is a list of 6 electives that you will take during your 4th year. You need to submit your plan of study by your 2nd year, 2nd semester. Here are some tips:

  • Tip: Choose electives based on your prospective SP topic
  • Tip: Choose electives that you think may help you in your future work. (e.g. many people like to take management or accounting courses for managerial positions)

7. Your registration adviser does not have to be your adviser for the duration of your stay as a student. You may file for a change of adviser anytime. Many students change advisers during their 3rd or 4th year, when it’s time to do their SP/Thesis. They change to an adviser with  expertise on their topic of interest.

8. Important subjects: CMSC 12 (Foundations of Computer Science), CMSC 123 (Data Structures)
Take these subjects seriously. They are prerequisites to many other core courses. Failing them will significantly delay you.

Reminders on Non Academic Matters

  1. Follow the ICS Facebook Page and the CAS Facebook Page for updates on academic, registration, and other matters.
  2. Don’t cultivate bad habits such as skipping class or being late just because you don’t feel like showing up. There may come a time during the semester where you will have a legitimate excuse to be absent (illness, personal or family emergency), and then you will incur an excessive number of absences and as a result, fail the class.
  3. Time management is important. Some tips to help you:
    1. Make a weekly schedule. Set aside time for each subject, and stick to it. This will help prevent backlogs where you need to get a lot of reading/homework done at the end of the sem.
    2. Talk to your teachers if you need help. If you don’t understand the topic, or you’re stuck with your lab exercise, email or consult in person with your instructor. The sooner you ask, the sooner you can get helpful feedback.
  4. If you are depressed, have other mental health issues, or just need to talk to someone who will listen, there are Life coaches and a psychologist in OSA, and a psychiatrist in the University Health Service (UHS). These are free services, you just need to make a schedule with them.