Fall course registration during your freshman orientation will most likely be the one experience that confirms the fact that you are now a college student (reality check). After a long day of touring and walking in 90-degree weather, collecting pamphlets and countless other colorful documents, and THEN being thrown into the middle of campus to talk to (if you can find your way around) an academic advisor, it’s time pick classes for the fall semester! Now, if you have already registered for an academic semester at Indiana University, you understand that course registration is the biggest lotto that you can play as a student. As an incoming freshman, the process of class registration is presented to you as a simple and stress-free process that involves some simple mouse clicks and… wah-lah! You have 15 credit hours. In reality, you need to have the mindset that 30 minutes of clicking through a course catalogue controls 50% of your entire freshman year. In order to avoid making less-than-intelligible decisions, here are a few tips to prepare you for course registration.
1. Before you meet with your academic advisor (which is temporary BTW, you’ll have a new advisor once you become a student in the fall) it is IMPERATIVE that you fill out your academic profile. It should be a 2 to 3 page handout that asks you very simple questions like “What classes did you take senior year?” and “What are your academic interests? (foreign language, science, etc.)” Some things you will not know, but fill it out to the best of your ability because you will later use this profile when you meet with your advisor.
2. Ask your advisor questions! There are a million and one courses that you could take as a freshman, and if you aren’t sure about what you want to take, NOW is the time to ask. Your advising meeting is the first time someone will try to challenge your academic course plan (“Are you sure?” one of those…) If you’re not sure, ask. Find out your options; if you don’t take class A, find out what’s up with B, C and D. Also, if you’ve taken placement exams and tested out of a course, check to make sure that you’re not planning to take a course that you already have credit for. That would be tragic.
3. Once it’s time to actually register, set your thought process to puzzle mode. If you are planning to take 5 classes, understand that you are going to have to make a schedule that appropriately accommodates all of those classes into one schedule. You now have to piece everything together. “Okay class A is at 9:05am on Monday which means that I can’t take class B at 9:30am on Tuesdays and Thursdays because I need to add a discussion class… but I can take it on MWF at 2:30pm… but I have class C already scheduled for 2:45mpm on Thursday… with lecture at 10:10 on Fridays…” This will be your thought process for about 30-45 minutes. For current students, we know that registration is all about planning and speed (whoever can click the fastest.) As a freshman, it’s important to think carefully about your schedule, but also be prepared to move quickly (there are probably 400 other orientation students who all need to register for the same classes as you and there limited seats available for those classes.)
But wait? How do I make careful decisions and register quickly at the same time? Preparation! Filling out your profile, writing things down, and asking your advisor questions (steps 1 and 2) takes that much more time away from registration. If you already know what you want to take, it’s now the game of what classes you can take and when. If you follow these guidelines, you can expect fewer tears and gray hairs when you register for classes. In all honesty, this will be the most stressful time of the entire orientation process… but after that, you’re in the clear! Welcome to IU!