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RCL 137/138 is a year-long course here at Penn State. It replaces 3 regular classes and condenses them into one! It’s the First Year Seminar, CAS 100, and English 15 classes put together. It’s an honors course, so if you are in Schreyer’s Honors College or the Paterno Fellows Program, it’s necessary  to take this class in particular. It’s an interesting take on a normal English class and, more importantly, you get to stick with the same people for the entire year!  

1. Talk to the Teacher

It is absolutely essential to talk to the teacher often. There are a lot of classes where you can feel like you’re just a number, especially here at Penn State. This class has a way of making you feel special and individualized. It’s really important to talk to the teacher and get to know them. Talk to the teacher and learn about them – it makes the year go by a lot better!

2. Ask for Help

If struggling with a paper or project, it’s necessary to ask for help. Some RCL classes started GroupMe chats for students to discuss work with each other. It’s so much easier to ask for feedback with people you are comfortable with. Ask classmates for their opinions or even the teacher. Go to their office hours and just talk. Never be afraid to ask or give help when it’s needed!

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3. Make Friends

This is so important! It’s necessary to make good friends that can help. As stated above, the GroupMe was a really smart idea that many classes have done in the past. Everyone becomes friends really quickly due to the fact that they were going to spend the whole year together. It’s great to have people to connect and work with. It definitely helps with being nervous about presentations as well.

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4. Pick a Good Group

Group presentations in this class are finals for both semesters. There are 3 group presentations that count for a large percentage of the grade. An important tip here would be to make sure to not to just pick friends for group members. It’s difficult to find members that will work out in every way, but it’s important to look for those with a good work ethic and great ideas.


RCL is a really fun class that a lot of students really enjoy. It’s great to only have one class equivalent to three, but only have the workload for one! Keep in mind that RCL is an honors class, so don’t expect to pass it with flying colors. It is a difficult class, but it’s worth getting rid of 3 different classes!


Beca Kelly

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