Well, I suppose you could say I had quite an adventure these last few days, as I’ve been away from home and primarily in North Dakota. Let me discuss what I’ve been doing.
Bright and early, at 3:30 AM on Thursday morning, we left Brainerd and headed toward Grand Forks to attend the University of North Dakota’s “freshmen getting started” program. This is a two-day series of meetings and events that both incoming freshmen and their parents can attend to get better acquainted with the university and all of the programs and services it offers. The program is not mandatory, but is nevertheless highly recommended because it allows freshmen to get off to a good start and receive one-on-one help and advisement with registering for first semester courses.
We had to be at the university at 9 AM, hence the fact that we had to leave Brainerd at 3:30. Well, actually, we didn’t have to leave that early, since Brainerd to Grand Forks is, at maximum, in good weather conditions, a 4 hour trip, but I wanted to get in Grand Forks a little early, so that I could explore the city a bit more and see what it looked like with leaves on all the trees and lush green lawns in front of all the houses.
We opted to take the 4 hour trip from Brainerd into Grand Forks, by heading west to Moorhead on U.S. highway 10 and then north from there to Crookston on U.S. highway 75, and finally west from Crookston into Grand Forks on U.S. highway 2. I think it was about 8:30 when we finally got to Grand Forks, thanks to a little rest stop we had in Dilworth.
The first day of the “getting started” program was full of essentially nothing but lectures covering every aspect of the university’s programs and services, from its student health services to study abroad program. About a dozen different presenters, each representing some unique department within the university, came in to a large lecture hall and spoke to all of the students and their parents. The first round of presentations lasted from 9:30 until 11:30, at which time lunch was served in one of the school’s many dining halls.
After the 45-minute lunch period, everybody went back into the lecture hall to watch even more PowerPoint presentations. Students who wanted to were allowed to take a foreign language placement exam during this time, but I didn’t have to, since UND accepts foreign language credit based solely on AP test scores. They even said anybody who has received or will be receiving AP credit in a foreign language was ineligible to take the placement exam, so I couldn’t have taken the test even if I had wanted to.
This second round of lectures concluded at 3:15, and then it was time for anybody who wanted to take the mathematics placement exam to do so. I opted not to for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I’ll more than likely receive AP credit in mathematics from my Calc AB test, plus we found out that the university’s housing department had, for some reason, not gotten the $250 fee necessary for my placement into a residence hall.
After quite a bit of time and running around, we finally were able to track the problem down and make sure that I was, indeed, set to get a room at the university. The people in the housing department explained that the first round of room/roommate assignments had already gone out, but that I should have no reason to panic, as I’ll be put on the list for room/roommate assignments that will go out the first week of July. They also told me that their little snafu shouldn’t bar me from getting into the dorm that (male) honors students have the option of living in. It would have been nice to find out my room number and roomate now, but I suppose I will be all right waiting a few more weeks to find out that information.
The presentations, which, incidentally, can be downloaded from here, weren’t all that interesting, though I did learn a few things, namely that the university has many different study abroad programs, including what looks like a very fun summer-long program at the University of Regensburg in the Bavaria region of Deutschland. Also, one of the student government groups or something is sponsoring a university reading program again this year, which means hundreds of complimentary Grand Forks Heralds, USA Todays, and Newsweeks in each and every dorm. It will be really nice not to have to spend a $1.00 or so every day to catch up on the news.
The second day of the program featured what everybody was waiting for, registration for the fall semester! The second day’s program lasted from 8 AM to 12 PM, and throughout most of this entire time, the parents and students were separated into two different groups.
The parents gathered in one group and watched some more presentations, mingled with each other, asked questions to a panel of current and former students, and overall learned how to cope with having their children move out of home.
We students, on the other hand, went to a large ballroom and had to fill out a few surveys that were supposed to tell the university more about its incoming freshmen. After this, registration began. The university had brought in about 20 or so advisors for about, I’m guessing, 100 to 150 students. All of the advisors were sitting at individual tables, and basically it was a first-come, first-served process. Once one advisor’s table opened, it was like a mad dash to be the next person to meet with the advisor and select classes for the first semester.
I had to wait a good hour and a half, during which time I looked over the complimentary course catalogs that we had been given and had a nice conversation with a girl from Rolla, ND, but I was finally able to make it to talk with an advisor.
Anyway, the advisor told me exactly what I was expecting to hear, that because the scores for some pivotal AP classes (read: German and Calc AB) have not yet come in, I would have to be placed in lower-level classes until my scores would allow me to bypass them. I just knew this was what was going to happen when it came time for me to register, and I would have liked it better if I could have registered after I got the AP scores from this year’s tests, but, I couldn’t do that, because the university wanted all the honors students to come up the first week of June to register, so that they could be honored with having the privilege of being the first ones to select their courses.
I was taught how to switch my schedule after I get my AP scores, however, and since all scheduling is handled online, I shouldn't have any difficulty enrolling in a higher-level math course and German course.
With that said, here’s a rundown of what classes I will have my first semester of college:
Chemistry – My AP Chemistry credit allowed me to bypass taking 100-level, introduction to chemistry courses, so instead I’ll be taking a 200-level chemistry course. I had the choice between this and 300-level organic chemistry, but since I have had very little organic chemistry up to this point, I figured it’d be better for me to save that for sophomore year. This 200-level course I’ll be taking should be a bit of review from AP Chemistry, but that’s an okay thing if it means I get off to a good start my freshman year.
Chemistry class will meet on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00-11:50 AM. The lab component will be held on Wednesdays from 3:00-5:50 PM, and tests (midterms, finals, etc.) will be given on Mondays from 7:00-8:30 PM.
German – I’m looking to get at least a minor in German, so I told my advisor I definitely wanted to enroll in a German class my first semester. Since the grade for my AP German test has not come in yet, however, I am currently only allowed into German 101. Once I do get AP grades, though, I’m expecting to get a 4 or a 5 on the German test, which would let me take a third-year class instead.
Math – Once again, because I don’t have a grade for AP Calculus AB yet, and I didn’t take the school’s placement exam, I’m only allowed to go into precalculus. If my AP grade is higher than a 3, though, I will sign up for either Calc I or Calc II, depending on what I feel like doing.
Honors – In order to remain in the honors program, every honors student has to take a minimum of so many credits in what are labeled as “honors only” courses. The class recommended for incoming honors students is “inquiry into the humanities” – honors 101 – and this is what I’ll have on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:00-3:00 PM. It looks like it’ll be an interesting class, definitely a diversion from the other classes on my schedule.
All in all, that’s 15 credits, which is more than the minimum 12 credits that everybody must take and just about average as for how many credits the average student takes. I’m officially registered as a prospective chemistry major, so that’s the course I plan on starting along my first semester.
Upon looking at those classes, also notice that I will not have an English class. My AP Lit grade got me out of taking freshmen literature/composition or whatever they call it, and my AP Lang grade will likely get me out of taking any other English classes as well. I think I'll either be a sophomore or close to being a sophomore when I enter school because of all the AP credit I am likely to recieve. I pretty much have all of my general education requirements already taken care of.
After Friday’s program concluded, we headed not toward home in Brainerd, but rather west (and south) toward Jamestown, ND. This entry has already gotten too unwieldy, so I’ll save the discussion of this trip to some other time. I’ll also refrain from posting pictures until some other time as well.