Dear Little Sis,
I know many students are getting ready to go through registration for the first time, and alone! Registering for classes in college can be super stressful, but I promise it doesn’t have to be. There are many things you should know that could help ease your nerves. Of course, every school is slightly different, registration is generally the same across the board.
1. Be Ready at Your Time Slot
First things first, most colleges assign students to a certain registration time. It’s super important to make sure you know exactly what classes you need to take before this time. Have your plan ready and your computer open. If the time ticket is 12pm be ready to literally hit the submit button at that time.
It’s important to make a list of contacts in case something goes wrong before registration time. In addition to that, write down a few backup classes in case your first option doesn’t work out.
2. Ask upperclassmen about Professors
If you know anyone in your major already it would be really helpful to ask them for advice. I promise upperclassmen in college aren’t typically judging freshman for not knowing things. Most students, like myself would be more than happy to answer any questions.
Some good questions to ask would be a suggested number of credit hours, the best time to take a class, and especially getting advice about professors.
3. Use rate my professor
Many students probably already do this, but if you don’t, you need to now. I used rate my professor to sculpt my entire schedule and it made my semester so much better. Good professors truly do make your college experience so much better. If people give a professor a bad rating they probably deserved it, so definitely pay attention.
Some classes won’t have an option that’s truly great, but just make sure you choose the one that is best.
4. Try finding a syllabus repository
Some colleges have syllabus repositories. If you search [college name] syllabus repository is should come up. This is where you can find a large list of every syllabus from past semesters. I find it helpful to read different professor’s syllabi to get a feel for how they run their class. This is where I look for their overall workload and how grades are distributed.
5. Ensure you meet all requirements
There are a lot of classes that have restrictions. Some restriction might include majors only, honors students, require a number of credit hours, or specific prerequisites. When adding classes to your schedule check the requirements first. Most likely there is no way around these either.
6. Add the correct lab sections
Not all students have to deal with labs, but if you’re a science major like me, then these will become your best friend. Not all lectures have a corresponding lab, but be sure to check. Often times if you try registering without a lab it won’t allow you to do so. Avoid errors by checking co-requisites.
7. Fewer credit hours the better
So, I know it can be tempting to take every class that sounds interesting, but don’t do it! First semester is full of a lot of adjustments. It’s best to have built in time in your schedule so you are able to adapt to this new way of life. Classes are also a lot harder in college, and it takes a lot of work to learn new study habits. I recommend not doing more than 15-16 credits.
8. Include a variety of subjects
This was my biggest mistake first semester. I took all science and math classes and it killed me. I thought college was no fun, and I didn’t enjoy a single class. That really makes it difficult to motivate yourself to get through four more years of college. I recommend choosing at least one class that sounds interesting, or is in a different field than you’re studying. Even if it isn’t required to graduate it will really help you mentally.
9. Throw in a fun class
So as I mentioned above, if you simply can’t add variety to your schedule, just add a fun class. We have classes called leisure skills that are super fun, but I also enjoy taking English/writing classes that sound fun. If you used to do theatre maybe throw in a drama class. Anything that will be little work and give you a much needed break.
10. When something goes wrong, Don't panic !
Registration is bound to go wrong. Errors aren’t always life threatening and they often get resolved before the start of school, but they do happen. The best thing to do is not panic. You will be able to graduate whether you get into that one class or not. All universities ensure their students graduate on time. Sometimes an error occurs for small mistakes, so check to see what the problem is before having a major freak out. An insider tip, if a class says it’s full wait a few hours and it may open again. The app Coursicle is also a great help for updating you on open and closed classes.