You picked a college, put down a deposit and went shopping for supplies. Now comes orientation, and with that, college registration. It is not an easy thing to get through, especially if you have not done it before. Follow these tips to make it easier.
1. Step One: Plan Ahead
While it might sound silly right now, planning ahead for most things in college, course registration included, will help you in the long run. Know where the course catalog is, whether it is online or on paper, how to look up classes and when registration dates are. If you need to make an account or talk to a school staff member before registering, do so as soon as possible. Contact professors to get course-specific questions clarified. Mark the date and time you have to register in your phone, on your calendar and on your parent or guardian’s calendar. Find someone who will keep you accountable and remind you to register. Store all of the course-related materials in a dedicated pile or folder. Get yourself mentally ready to sign up. If you are nervous, or feel unprepared, reach out to a current college student, an academic advisor or a trusted friend or family member to help you. By getting physically and mentally ready to register, you do not have to worry about forgetting to create a student account or accidentally recycling the course catalog just before registration day.
2. Step Two: Think Big Picture
When signing up for classes, even as a first year student, start thinking as much as you can about your plan for college. It is completely okay if you have not declared a major, especially because most students change their program multiple times, but have an idea what you are interested in. If you know you want to major in Business, prioritize taking the courses you need to progress in the program. Or, if you are torn between related fields, such as Chemistry and Food Science, then register classes that relate to both programs. Consider your answers to common questions. Which majors and classes interest you? Do you want to get your general education requirements out of the way? Could you deal with being a senior in a freshman class? Do you want day or night classes? Keep your school and program requirements in mind, and be sure that you are on track to get the necessary amount of credits needed to maintain your major and school registration. No matter if your major is flexible or more rigid, thinking about the big picture keeps you on track. Nobody wants to find out that they need to be taking different classes to meet requirements, or attend for a fifth year, midway through school. That just means more time and more money. Try to avoid these situations while you can.
3. Step Three: Map it Out
Literally mapping out a schedule can be helpful for any kind of student. First, grab a map of the college campus. Get a piece of paper, or a spreadsheet, and then start writing. List out class names, the subjects, identification numbers, times, locations, professors and any additional information that would be helpful. You can even color code each class to make them easier to see. This will help you determine if any potential classes overlap, or if it would be impossible to get from one location to the next on time. Prioritize your classes, and choose backup options should you not get into your first choices. Consider putting both on the list. If you list out your choices on a spreadsheet, print it out so it can be in front up you come registration.
4. Step Four: Be Prepared for Anything
Finally, be prepared for anything on sign up day. The classes you want might be full. The website could be down. Or, you could miss your sign-up time, professors, times or locations could change or classes might not be offered at all. Maybe you get lucky and get into everything you want. No matter what happens, you will have survived your first college registration. The next ones will be easier.
Keep these steps in mind as you prepare for college registration. Good luck!