How To Register For Classes
This week among all the craziness that’s going on, everyone at LMU has started receiving reminders about one particularly dreadful thing: class registration. Don’t worry, we’re here to help make sure you get the best schedule possible. Here’s a walk-through of everything registration: organizing your schedule to a tee, getting into those quick-filling classes and avoiding a professor from hell.
Before getting started, you need to gather all of the information you will need, including but not limited to:
- Your current class report. At LMU, these go by the euphemism “CAPP Report.” It’s the thing that reminds you which classes you have (and sometimes haven’t) taken.
- Class bulletin. You know, the thing with the information on what you need to complete your major.
- Any past roadmaps you’ve made for yourself. You might have a “timeline” of sorts with your whole 4/5-year plan. For those of us who are over-organized, this might be in the form of an Excel spreadsheet. For me, I just use paper.
- A few hours of peace and quiet. The sooner you get started, the sooner it gets done…
- Write down the classes remaining to be taken for your major(s) and minor(s). This includes all of them. Course numbers will do (e.g. “CS 101″).
- Figure out which classes will be offered next term and give priority to prerequisites. Some majors require classes to be taken in a certain sequence. Taking prerequisites early will obviously make this process more enjoyable in the future.
- Look up timing for finals week. Most schools make the schedule for finals week available during registration. Give a scan of the possible finals timing and nix any classes that necessitate an unfavorable final. Usually, people prefer to avoid finals that are early in the morning or ones that force you to stick around campus until the very last day of finals week. We’ll be adjusting our schedules to accommodate the annual film school party.
- Record the times for all of the available sections for each class. Chris prefers using iCal. Scott can do it in his head. I use pencil and paper. You want a system that will easily highlight timing conflicts between different class sections. Then, it’s kind of like Sudoku or a Jigsaw puzzle. Use trial and error to pull together a clean schedule. Make it neat – your workstudy employer might want a copy to plan hours for the next semester.
- Don’t set yourself up for disaster. Make sure there’s physically enough time for you to have lunch or walk from one class to the next (pull up a campus map). If you’re not an early-bird, don’t schedule something too early (obvious enough) but by the same token, a late-Thursday-night class might be just as tempting to cut.
- Play favorites. You’re not always going to get your top choice, so save room for a few backups.
- Double-check the professors. Check RateMyProfessor.com and PickAProf which is even more reliable (as Rosario mentioned a while ago). Bear in mind that word of mouth will always be more reliable. Just hang out in your college for a week and talk to some fellow students. The answers will be obvious.
Let’s face it, you’re not going to get every class you’re hoping for, but you can do damage control beforehand.
- First, make sure you have no “holds” on your registration. All this planning will go down the tubes if you still have holds on your account. Sometimes, this means meeting with advisors or paying the rest of last semester’s tuition.
- Figure out your exact registration time. Depending on how your school does registration, you might need to wake up early or stay up late. Bear in mind that there are probably hundreds of other students with your exact registration time. You’re competing with them — so be ready to go exactly on time.
- Be ready to sign up for the maximum number of classes. You want as much flexibility as possible going into the next term, so take as many classes as your school allows – a larger load than you can even handle. The week before the final add/drop date can serve as a grace period to test your teachers and timing. You can whittle down your schedule to the best classes. Make sure you’ve got the add/drop days ingrained in your brain.
- Plan ahead. If you’re going to try to take a class that’s likely to fill up quickly, get creative. Have someone with an earlier registration date hold your spot in the class. Bear in mind that Honors students, atheletes and people with disabilities will be able to register even earlier than Seniors or your friends with a high number of credit hours. Or, just email the teacher right off the bat – they can usually get you in earlier, rather than later.
- Don’t forget the course numbers. For popular classes, seconds matter. Course registration numbers will be the fastest way to sign up for classes on D-Day. Jot down all of the registration numbers for your ideal schedule so that when it’s time to register, all you have to do is punch in all the numbers and hope for the best.
- Be prepared for the worst. Remember: you’re better off saving a spot in a class that wasn’t your first choice than leaving yourself with an empty slot and no options later.
- Set an alarm. Give yourself enough time to pull up your schedule and the registration webpage.
- Good luck.
- If you didn’t get into the class you wanted, there’s still hope. Get buddy-buddy with the professor. Ask them to open up a slot for you. Show up to the class anyway — most professors will have a harder time turning you down in person than over email. Alternatively, watch the class online like a hawk to see if anyone drops. Check in the wee hours of the morning. Pray.
- Keep the relevant paperwork. Some of this stuff will come in handy come next semester. There are a few steps you can bypass if you keep the planning materials you used. I just scanned in my sheet and GMailed it to myself.
What are your class registration mantras?