Something you may not be anticipating when you’re preparing for your time at college is registering for classes. In high school, I know that I personally lost my class registration sheet almost every year. At least two of the years I signed up for classes, I turned in my registration sheet on the last day available. I was never worried about classes filling up or being unable to complete pre-requisites for my future classes. Unfortunately, college is a whole different ballpark.
The first aspect of signing up for classes that completely blew me away was how many choices I had. There were hundreds of options! Every class title was more intriguing than the last, and soon I had a document full of classes I wanted to take. I was busy despairing over how on earth I would decide which classes to attend, when I realized the next horror of class registration: actually getting the classes you need.
Thankfully, your university cares about you graduating, and offers a class guide, as well as comprehensive faculty advising. You can search by the area of study you plan on pursuing, and see what classes are required for the major, minor, or concentration you’re attempting to receive. This class guide will absolutely save your life, so I’d suggest getting at least one copy of it and familiarizing yourself with its contents.
The best way to discover what classes you need to take is by using this guide to find which classes you are required to take for your major(s) and minor(s). There are some classes that you must take, while some requirements can be fulfilled by one of a couple different options. Behind the main section explaining what classes you must take for your major or minor is an extensive list of each of the classes offered, their description and the pre-requisites needed in order to be enrolled in the class.
I would recommend crossing out the classes you’ve completed in your major(s) and minor(s), and attempting to write out a list of all the classes you still need in order to graduate. Be aware that doing so will seem overwhelming, but don’t panic! Once you’ve written out this list of what you still need, put an ‘x’ by all of the classes that you can’t take, either because they’re full already, they’re not being offered, or you don’t have the appropriate pre-requisites (ex., proper class standing or classes required before taking said class).
You’re going to be left with a much shorter list that will incite less panic. However, it will likely still include more classes than you can possibly take in one semester. The best way to choose whether or not you should take a class in your upcoming semester is to determine which classes you need to take in order to move on to further classes in the major. Some classes are pre-requisites for over two-thirds of the other classes needed to complete a major. Identify these classes and get them out of the way as soon as possible. Doing these things should help you to decide which classes to be open to take in your upcoming semester.
The other struggle that comes along with registration is actually getting the classes that you want in a schedule that fits your life. You’re going to have a meeting with your core adviser, and by all means you should take full advantage of it.
Don’t set your heart on just four or five classes with specific times that you want. Instead, have multiple schedules picked out. Have an ideal schedule with the classes you’d like most with the times you’d like most. Then, have alternates (at least two alternates) for each of the classes you’ve picked. Classes are filled quickly, and if you’re attempting to get into a higher level class as a first or second year, it’s likely that you’ll have a tough time getting them onto your schedule.
Being prepared for anything is the best way you can help yourself during this difficult process. It’s a hard and confusing time of the semester, but knowing the resources available to you and familiarizing yourself with them will get you ahead of the game!