By Branwyn Wilkinson
To begin, let’s get a couple of things straight: first, yes, I got my article’s title format from Reader’s Digest. (Reader’s Digest is a print magazine, for those of you who get all your information from the internet.) Second, for any freshman advisors who may be reading, I mean no disrespect! I’m sure all you guys are great. My freshman advisor was awesome when it came to registration and everything else.
That being said, there’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re registering for classes the first time. It’s no wonder some things may get left out.
I’m sure at this point all you freshmen have heard the registration buzz. It’s probably come up in your Griff 101 classes. Maybe some of you even already have your pin numbers. At the very least, you know the basics of how to choose classes and when to log in on the morning of registration, or will be hearing it soon, so I’ll spare you those details. But there are a few other important things you might want to keep in mind as you get ready to register.
First, use, use, USE ratemyprofessors.com.
I hardly used this super helpful website the first time I registered and I regretted it. This website gives you all kinds of information on professors, from how much work to expect from them to how hot they are. A lot of times, you can look up reviews of the specific class you plan to take from them. Pay particular attention to whether the professor is reading- or writing-heavy. You can learn a lot from reading- and/or writing-heavy classes, but you don’t want to overload on them. I would say to keep these courses to two or less per semester.
Second: Think you can take six classes? Think again.
By that, I mean you may want to wait just one more semester before registering for six. A lot of times, your very first semester of college tends to be an easier workload since you’re in so many 101 courses. The workload of your second semester might hit you harder than you expect. My advice is to wait until the end of your freshman year. If you still think you can handle six classes then, go for it!
Third: keep slogging through required courses.
I know they’re not the most engaging classes, but it’s still best to get them out of the way as quickly as possible.
My fourth piece of advice, to go along with number three, is to be sure to register for any second sessions of a class you have to take.
Many introductory courses are completed over the course of two semesters, and it’s best to do the second part while the content of the first is still fresh in your mind. Try to stick with the same professor if possible; that way, you’ll already know how they teach the class and how you have to study.
Fifth: thinking of picking up another major? You should know you don’t need to officially add that major to start taking classes in it.
I do suggest meeting with a professor in the department or attending the information session on it, though. This will help you figure out which class you should register for as an introduction to the major, as well as whether or not any transfer or AP credits you might have count towards that major.
Finally, waiting until the night before registration to make your schedule is okay.
Actually, it’s a pretty great method. You’ve probably heard that you should already be working on making your schedule. However, odds are that much of that will be a waste of time. As freshmen, you register dead last (which stinks, I know). If you make your dream schedule now with all the most interesting courses and the best professors, chances are you’ll still have to remake most of it right before (or, God forbid, during) registration. Surprise, surprise, those interesting classes with great professors fill up fast, so the chances of a freshman getting in are pretty slim. As long as you have a good idea of what classes you should be registering for, waiting until the night before to make a schedule is just fine. That way, you’ll be able to find classes that have spots open, and you’ll only be competing with other freshman for those spots.
If you keep these six things in mind, registration and your second semester should go smoothly.