How does college registration work?

Each college has a different registration process, but at its foundation, it’s really all the same. No matter what college you attend, the process can be stressful. Follow these steps to become a college registration star. 

The Basics 

 You have to choose 3-5 classes that will fit your schedule and your major. Your registration time is normally dependent on your credits. For example, why freshmen normally register for classes last due to having fewer credits than those who are further in their college career. That is one of the reasons freshmen want to come in with having college credit already. 

College registration is normally done twice a year. Once for Summer/Fall semester and once for Winter/Spring semester. For Summer and Fall, registration happens around April/May. For Winter andSpring, registration happens around November/December.

Pro-Tip: Something that I did to help make this whole process easier was creating a four-year plan. During my freshman year, I went through the course catalog,  all the requirements for my majors and my school’s core curriculum, and put it all into an excel spreadsheet, dividing it into 4 classes per semester. This way, when registration comes along I already have my first choices laid out. But if those classes are not offered or the times don’t work out the way I want to, I can easily switch things around in my spreadsheet while being confident I’m still on the right track to graduation. 

How To Do It

Step 1: 

Talk to your academic advisor. Discuss your class considerations for next semester and get their input. 

Step 2: 

Look through the class requirements for your major (or minor), and general education. At many liberal arts colleges, there is a core curriculum that each student needs to complete before graduation, so be sure to include that when considering classes. 

 Pro-Tip: Do not leave core curriculum classes to the last minute!!! Try to get them out of the way during your freshman and sophomore year. 

Step 3

Go through the course catalog and see if the classes you need/want to take are an option that semester. If they are then hooray! But if not, you’re going have to go back to Step 2.  

Pro- Tip: Check if any classes have prerequisites, sometimes you can’t take a certain class without taking another first or without specific permission from the professor

Step 4: 

Check the times. Usually, the same classes are offered at multiple times during the week. So, go through each of the class times and choose ones that work best for your schedule. 

Pro-Tip: Remember, the same classes are taught by different professors. So always check with friends who have had the professor or to be sure you’re going to have the best learning experience possible. 

Step 5: 

ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN B. This cannot be stressed enough. After going through Steps 2-4, do it all again. It sucks but it has to be done! 

When it comes time to register, the class may be filled up already. So, whether that means taking the same class at another time or taking a different class all together… always have a backup plan.

Step 6: 

Write it all down. Plan A and Plan B (maybe even a Plan C?)  should be written down with the class name, course number, professor, and time. Having this information ready will make your registration process much faster and help you get the classes you need before they fill up.

Step 7

Figure out your registration time. Remember it is all based on class credit. (Although those with disabilities often are able to register earlier).

 Usually, your school will provide a chart correlating the number of credit hours you have to registration time. If you’re unsure, you can always ask your advisor and they should be able to provide more information. 

Step 8: 

Prepare to register at the time you’ve been given, set an alarm about 5-10 minutes before. Make sure you have a good internet connection and all the information from Step 6 in front of you. 

Step 9: 

REGISTER!! When the clock hits, don’t wait!! So many people are going to be registering at this time and you want to do your best to not get closed out of a class you want. 

Remember, even if you don’t get the class you want,  you can always wait till the Add/Drop Period and check again to see if anyone dropped out.

Registration is stressful, but you only have to do it once a semester! So, set yourself up for success.