Factors to Consider Before College Class Registration
The Admittedly Team
Ah, class registration. With so many choices, how will you ever decide? Check out these important factors to help you choose the perfect course load for next semester!
Time of Day
Some people are ready to conquer the world at 6am and prefer morning classes because it gives them a head start to the day, and allows them for more free time in the afternoon. Others aren’t fully conscious until 3pm, and find that it’s easier to concentrate after sleeping in and heading off to evening classes. You are going to have to evaluate which type of person you are and plan accordingly.
Extra Required Class Time
Pay attention to additional requirements for certain classes. Many science classes include a lecture and a separate lab section that can last up to 3 hours. Foreign language classes may include a mandatory discussion class. If you do choose a class with an extra section, pay attention to possible overlap with other classes. Typically, online registration systems are smart enough to not allow overlap, but it’s always wise to check location too to make sure it’s feasible to get from one class to another in time.
A prerequisite class is an introductory level course that you need to take before registering for a higher level class. Making sure you have all the correct prerequisites takes a bit of planning. Try mapping out a list of all the classes you want to take for the next few years. Often times, your classes build upon each other, so you need to make sure you are starting in the right places. If you need help figuring it all out, see your advisor!
By researching class size, you can mix and match, creating a well rounded schedule that incorporates classes of all sizes. Some classes are large lectures, perfect for sitting back and listening. Small, discussion-based courses give you the chance to speak your mind and form a bond with professors and classmates. Experiencing both types can help you become a better student, showing you different ways to absorb information.
Balance is key when it comes to creating your class schedule. Sometimes you want to take a course that sounds interesting, but the workload is just too much. Most classes will state how many assignments, problem sets, tests, and papers they will assign. Depending on your college’s course search, you may have to reach out to the professor to see a copy of the syllabus. If you aren’t sure if you can handle the workload of the classes you sign up for, don’t sweat it! When you finally start going to class, there is a period of time (usually around 2 weeks) in which you can add/drop classes to your schedule as you see fit. Just make sure you are challenging yourself, but not biting off more than you can chew!
On the course search site, colleges often have the grade breakdown for each class. If you have a friend that has already taken the class, it won’t hurt to ask about the way grades are determined. This is useful info, especially if you’re more of a test taker than a paper writer. (Or vice versa).
The Pass/Fail/No Credit (NC)
The pass/fail option is a perk your college may offer. Every semester, students have the option of taking a class on a pass/fail basis: either you pass (earned an A, B, C, or D grade for the course) or you get an F. The pass/fail choice can help you keep your GPA in tact while taking courses that are more challenging. You might not take a course as a pass/fail from the start (colleges have a period in which students can switch a class to pass/fail at the beginning of the semester), but it’s nice to have the choice if you need it.
All schools treat eligibility for the pass/fail option differently. Some schools require that you take a certain amount of credits in order to qualify. Other schools put a cap on how many pass/fail classes you can take. The point of the pass/fail option is to encourage you to expand your horizons and experiment with different fields of study you’ve never tried before.
Some schools will offer the option of "no credit" for courses that are deemed extremely challenging. Sometimes, despite valiant efforts, students’ grades slip due to difficult curriculum. To save your GPA, the professor can grant you an NC. You will have to repeat the course and zero credits will go towards graduation, but the poor marks won’t affect your GPA.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing your classes is how they fit into your degree audit. Your degree audit allows you to evaluate your academic progress towards your degree . Make sure you see your advisor and plan your schedule so that your classes count towards graduation. Otherwise, you run the risk of signing up (and paying for) classes that don’t really count towards your degree! (And NO ONE wants that).
Congratulations, you are ready for class registration! When in doubt, visit your advisor to make sure you are on the right track! Good luck; we believe in you!