Registrar’s office gives course registration tips

BY ELIZABETH MCMAHON ’13
Senior Staff Writer

Every year when it comes time to register for courses the Registrar’s Office hosts several sessions that help students learn how to register for classes. I had never attended one of these in the past, but I was excited to try it this year to see if all the things I thought about scheduling were true.

The presentation was pretty short and really just outlined the scheduling process for first-year students. Laura Medvic, assistant registrar, presented a PowerPoint presentation on how to schedule classes effectively.

She began by explaining the basic process for registering. She explained how students need to meet with their advisors in order to get their advising codes and then can go online and enter courses.

Medvic then addressed ways for a student to increase his or her chances of getting into a particular class.

“It’s all about the points,” Medvic said.

Students can get points for four different reasons, including placement of the class on the pre-registration form, cohort year, major and minor of the student, and if this class fulfills a requirement. Medvic then went through each of these and explained them in more detail.

Cohort year is pretty straight forward: seniors get the most points, juniors the second most, and so on. Students receive extra points for classes fulfilling major or minor requirements. If the class fulfills a requirement you are more likely to get in than someone who is just taking the class for fun.

Points are also awarded depending on where on the course selection from the class is placed, with the first row primary position holding the most points.

All of this knowledge I, as a senior, knew already, but I was still very glad to find out that everything I had suspected was true. I did not want to find out I had been doing everything wrong for four years.

Medvic then continued by explaining how exactly the system works. One thing I did not know was the system will not put a student in more than one course listed in a single row on the pre-registration sheet. Meaning, if a class in the first position of the first row is picked, the system will not consider any of the classes in the rest of the row but will move on to the second row.

At the end of the computer-generated process the registrar receives a report from the computer. Medvic explained how the registrar’s office goes through the schedules to make sure the computer did not make any mistakes.

One of the tips Medvic gave to students was for those who want to enroll in Chemistry, Biology, or Spanish classes. She suggested students filled out an entire row for these classes to increase their opportunity of getting in.

One of the things I learned at this presentation was if a student is granted a permission code for a course designated “permission only,” that student is guaranteed a spot in the class. Therefore, it may be wise to list that course as the primary in the fourth row so as not waste points on a guaranteed seat.

At the end of the presentation, Medvic took several questions from students. One of these questions was about prerequisites. An audience member asked if she can put a course in her schedule if she does not have one of the prerequisites, but already received permission from the department to take it. Medvic told her the current system does not actually check prerequisites so technically students can list any class (except those designated “permission required”), though it is not recommended.

In a follow-up email, I asked Medvic to explain the biggest complaint the Registrar’s Office receives from students. Medvic said a shortened schedule is usually the biggest concern. She assures students these schedules are just preliminary, and in order to avoid a shortened schedule, students should fill out the course form as fully as possible. Schedules can be adjusted during the designated drop/add period and up through the start of classes.

I also asked what students can do to ease the process. Medvic had two suggestions.

“I would encourage students to contact their adviser as soon as possible to set up an advising time,” Medvic said. “Second, if a student is eligible to have declared a major, I would encourage that student to submit a major declaration form to our office so they can receive priority points for major courses.”

One thing Medvic mentioned at the information session was a new system which will be added next year. This system will allow students to do more online.

“This will eliminate the long lines at our office, and we are glad for the convenience for the students,” Medvic said. The new system is an improvement on the old and will come into effect next year.

The information session was very informative, especially for first-year students, but even as a senior I found out something new. The registration process can be daunting for all, but when students fill out their forms as completely as possible, they really increase their chances of getting the courses they want and need.

Questions? Email Elizabeth at emcmahon@fandm.edu.

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