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Guide to taking DeCals

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After many complaints about the name of Barrows Hall due to its namesake's racist views, UC Berkeley will consider denaming the building.


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AUGUST 31, 2016

With the unpredictability and glitches that accompany signing up for classes via CalCentral, you often find yourself scrambling to find classes that will fulfill your mandatory 13 units per semester (12 for those of you in the College of Engineering and College of Environmental Design). You don’t want to sign up for a four-unit class when you only need one or two units to meet the minimum requirement. What if we told you that the solution to your woes could be learning the Lindy Hop on a dance floor instead of turning in a scantron, or listening to video games instead of memorizing textbooks?

DeCals are student-led classes worth one to three units that are offered to undergraduates looking to add units to their semester or to learn something new without the pressures of a traditional academic environment. Typically run in the evenings at Barrows Hall, DeCals are a great way to find your niche on campus while taking part in an eclectic course. Here’s a breakdown to getting into the DeCal of your dreams:

  1. Review the list of DeCal courses being offered. The courses change every semester, so see which open classes speak to your soul.
  2. Asses your time commitments and ask yourself if you can make every meeting and turn in the assignments. Although DeCals are typically pass/no pass classes, a majority of the courses are graded on participation and attendance with the addition of midterms and papers.
  3. Read the sign-up requirements of each class. Different courses have different policies. Some DeCals ask that you submit an application, go through an audition or attend the first meeting. Don’t be afraid to shop around to find your perfect match.
  4. After you receive the Course Control Number (CCN), login on CalCentral to add the course to your schedule. Pay attention to which CCN you submit, because the same DeCal may offer different numbers based on how many units you wish to enroll in.
  5. DeCals have the same add/drop deadlines as any other class on campus. To avoid any fees, add your DeCal by the third week of instruction and drop any DeCals by the second week of instruction. Be sure to choose wisely.
  6. Don’t be afraid to email the facilitators (who are students just like you) with any questions or concerns. Although DeCals are sponsored by members of the faculty, all forms of communication should be directed towards your facilitators.

These classes allow students the chance to take part in a non-traditional education. The fact that you get college credit for learning how to be the next Ash Ketchum or watching episodes of “Modern Family” adds to the Berkeley mystique that is unlike any other campus. If baking frosty confections, playing the Campanile’s carillon bells or shooting arrows like a badass appeal to you, step out of your comfort zone and join a DeCal.

Contact Angeline Nguyen at [email protected].

AUGUST 30, 2016