Planning Your Core
Make the most out of your Core experience by making connections!
You may be asking yourself, "Why do I have to take Core courses?" The Fairfield Core is designed to prepare you both for work and society. Your Core courses are not "hurdles to jump over" or courses to be "gotten out of the way," but rather opportunities to explore your interests, gain valuable skills and knowledge, expose yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking, and make interdisciplinary connections that make sense to you.
The Core allows you to build a general knowledge base and toolbox that will serve you throughout your life. Choose courses to learn what you don't know about now. Open yourself to new subjects and ideas, and learn how to understand and interpret what is happening in the world around you.
Use the tools and information here to thoughtfully design your Core so that you can get the most out of your undergraduate education.
The Core - The Big Picture
What do you want to gain from your Core experience?
The choices you make today are important for your tomorrow - so make them count, make them meaningful! Questions to consider as you plan your Core:
- What are your favorite interests?
- What do you want to do after college? And which courses will prepare you for your career/occupation or other enduring interests?
- What is your major or might be if you haven't declared a major yet? Minor?
- What types of in-class and out-of-class experiences do you want?
- What are 2 or 3 important fields of interest to you?
After answering these questions, use the Core Planning Worksheet to chart out your Core journey. Select courses that match your interests and goals, while meeting your Core requirements.
Reflecting on Your Core
Questions to ask yourself* as you complete your Core:
- What courses have I taken so far?
- What skills and knowledge have I acquired from each course?
- In what ways do the courses I have taken fit together? What are the connections?
- What are my long-term goals/objectives and how do the core courses I have taken fit into my plan(s)?
*Also discuss these questions with your advisor, mentor, instructors, and peers. Often these discussions allow us to see the big picture and make sense of our decision-making processes.
The purpose of the Core is to provide you with a diversity of skills you will need to thrive in our complex and ever-changing world. Core courses will help you develop your communication skills (both oral and written), analytical skills, and problem-solving skills - all of which are essential to enticing employers, navigating your life, and playing an active role in your local and/or global communities.
The Core & Your Major as ONE
Too often, students think of a bachelor's degree curriculum as consisting of 2 unrelated pieces: the core and the major. However, to make sense of your Fairfield experience, you should instead see them as 2 inter-connected parts of your whole journey. Through the help of faculty and advisors, it's up to you to make sense of the experience for yourself.
When selecting courses, consider their purposes (i.e., their goals and what skills you will develop), not just their content. Also consider how the purposes of each individual course you take relate to intentions of the Core, your major, your minor, and your personal objectives. You need to be aware of the way in which any course is designed to help you grow intellectually. Each of the courses you take should complement one another, and fit into your larger educational experience.
The Big Picture - Relating Courses
Putting the pieces of your Core experience together is good practice, whether within or across disciplines. The process of making connections is often made explicit in interdisciplinary courses, courses that involve service-learning, and those that have you conduct your own research. Whether you choose these kinds of experiences or not, you should think about the connections among your courses, and your overarching personal and professional goals. Add depth and coherence to your Core experience by considering how each course is related to each other, and make choices accordingly.
A few resources to help you pave your path:
- Office of Academic Engagement - Advising Resources and Academic Support Services
- Career Planning Center
- The Writing Center
- Study Abroad
- Service Learning