Class Registration: Tips for First-Year Students

By Kate McBride || Contributing Writer

Photo Courtesy of fandm.edu.

Friends, we’re swiftly approaching the time that all seasoned F&M students regard with utter disdain and endless frustration: class registration. It’s the one day you can lay claim to those courses that you’ve had your eyes on for what feels like an eternity. Everyone in your class is on an even playing field—it’s just a very quick sprint to the finish line. In my eyes, the process is akin to attempting to buy concert tickets that are high in demand—those five or ten minutes are stressful to say the least. 

Okay, I’m definitely being a little dramatic, but it really can be a pain if you don’t go about it the right way. However, my dear first years, my aim is to make this process smooth-sailing for as many of you as I can. 

1. Two Words: PLAN AHEAD.

Please, I beg of you, put together a list of the courses that you’re interested in taking. This is not something that you can just “figure out” as you go. Once the clock strikes eleven on the night of registration, you’ll truly have no time to spare. Look through your DegreeWorks on Inside F&M: it lists all of the distribution and language requirements that you still need to fulfill, as well as classes that you’ll need to take for your future major (if you have an idea of what you want to study, that is… if not, no big deal!). Essentially, make sure you know what classes you want to take before go-time. 

2. If you think you have enough back-ups, add one more!

Now that you have a list of your first-choice picks for the spring, make sure you consider the very real possibility that one (or more) of the classes you want will already be full. It’s a shame, but being placed on a waitlist with no backup option is worse (trust me, I know first-hand). You can never be too safe; if you think you have enough potential back-ups, add one more to your list. I’d recommend having at least three backup courses that correlate with the times of your first choices—you don’t want to attempt to register for classes at overlapping times, so pay attention to that!

3. Be ON TIME!

Plan to get going as soon as the clock strikes eleven on the night of registration. You already know this process is a RACE—don’t give yourself more trouble by being unnecessarily late to the game. 

4. Make sure to be somewhere with strong Wi-Fi

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how quick the Wi-Fi can crap out on class registration night. Especially in the college houses, every single first year will be going to the same website at the same time—it definitely slows the process down. I’d definitely recommend going somewhere on campus other than a college house—you’ll be far less likely to run into connection issues.

5. Remember, it isn’t the “end-all, be-all”

Although class registration can be pretty stressful, try to keep in mind that you will have plenty of opportunities to alter your schedule if things go haywire. If you get placed on a waitlist, email the professor and express your interest in the course! If your internet connection gives out mid-registration, it’s likely that it happened to many others as well. And don’t forget, there’s always Add/Drop in the spring.
Don’t sweat this. While it can be stressful and a bit intimidating, you will be absolutely fine if you put in the time to prepare properly. Class registration is a humbling experience for everyone, so don’t be discouraged. I wish you all the best of luck in the registration process. You got this!

Kate McBride is a sophomore and contributing writer for The College Reporter. Her email is kmcbride@fandm.edu. 

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