Now that I’ve been accepted to Lake Forest, I have to actually choose what I’ll be studying when I’m there. There are so many options that it’s taking me while to make a final choice, and we all know by now how indecisive I can be.
One of the issues of being an exchange student is working out if you’re eligible and capable enough to take the modules your host university offers. There have been a lot of course that seemed interesting, but I won’t be able to take because I don’t have the prerequisites (previous module experience) or I’m at the wrong academic level. In the case of American institutions, there’s a slightly different system structure than in the UK. Courses often range from levels 100-500, with 100 level courses being aimed at freshmen (first years), 200 level at juniors (second years), 300 years at sophomores (third years), and 400 level at seniors (finals years). Because we tend to have a 3 year system in place in the UK, choosing appropriate levels can be challenging, particularly at 300/400 level when there’s a potential for some level of crossover.
Another issue with the exchange system is the course equivalency to your home institution. I’m required to take at least 15 US Credits whilst I’m abroad for Essex to be satisfied with my course load and equivalency. For Lake Forest this means I need to take at least 5 modules over the year, as most of their modules are equivalent to 4 US credits.
It’s been interesting to look at the time. Classes start at 9am at Essex, and the latest class I’ve had finished at 6pm, and that was a rare one for me. Comparing this to some of Lake Forest offerings is surprising; some classes start at 8am, and some finish at almost 10pm!
I’m sure it’ll be an adjustment, but it’s one that I’m ready and willing to make.