It’s that time again folks. The time when MyAccess takes precedence over Facebook, and you actually have to wait in line to see your academic dean. That’s right. I’m talking about pre-registration. Commence groans of anticipated stress now.
I was severely unprepared the first time I logged on to pre-register. Thankfully I had an experienced Hoya sophomore to help me through it. I’ve discovered that it becomes a bit easier each time you do it. Now that I’m on my third go-around, I figure I know what I’m doing.
The entire process is too complex. First you have to understand what courses you’re required to take, then if you receive AP credit, how to schedule strategically, which professors to avoid, what the “any section” button means, and how the alternate system works. It requires a lot of patience, diligent strategizing, and a bit of luck in order to secure the classes you want.
Yet, even when you’ve submitted your pre-registration that doesn’t guarantee that you’re actually registered for the classes. This might in fact be more annoying than the process of pre-registering itself. Between harassing teachers to have them sign you into their class, attending classes you aren’t registered for so the teacher notes your interest in the class, and agonizing over the waitlist lottery on MyAccess, it can be incredibly frustrating.
- Don’t be overwhelmed. Yes, it’s complicated, but as us experienced Hoyas can attest, it is manageable.
- Pay attention to how you prioritize your classes. Be smart about the way you rate the classes you are most interested in. Hint: put classes with less availability towards the top for a better chance of getting in!
- Understand how “any section” and alternates work. If the class is full the system will then check to see if you have the any section button checked. This is useful in helping you ensure that you will be registered for this class, but if you have a certain professor in mind don’t check it. Only after that will the system check the availability of your alternate class selection.
- Look at syllabi when available. It can really help you get a feel for the class and balance your course load when you understand a professor’s expectations and assignments.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Your peer advisor is a very valuable resource and is there to guide you through this process.
- And my final suggestion and most valuable piece of advice: ratemyprofessor.com. This site is a gold mine for making notes on and comparing teachers. It helped me avoid a potentially disastrous Problem of God experience my first semester. It also led me to make it my mission to have a class with a Jesuit before I leave Georgetown. (Currently in the works right now…*fingers crossed!*)
When you’re not thinking about the fact that pre-registration can single-handedly make or break your semester academically, it can become enjoyable. It’s not all bad. The minute the course schedule becomes available it becomes your new “productive” procrastination tool. You have to search through endless lists of courses and professors as some point right? Might as well be when you’re supposed to be studying for an exam the next day…My favorite part is the scheduling. Grab some copy paper, a plethora of colored sharpies, a ruler, and get to work!
Right now I’m registering for sophomore year. For a depressing rant about coming to terms with the end of my freshman year please refer to my previous blog post. On a different note, this means that I actually have to figure out what I want to do with my life. That’s a scary prospect my friends. I only have six more semesters to fill with courses of my majors and minors – eek!
However, this also means that I can start veering away from a course load consisting of 5 pre-requisite classes. Right now I’m looking at Intro to Fiction Writing and Political Theology; courses that really interest me. Granted, I understand that prerequisites are important for establishing a solid foundation for your learning experience and can play a role in helping you explore your academic interests, but it’s nice that I’m able to have a bit more freedom.
In the end it’s an obnoxious but necessary process. So here’s to hoping for the perfect Fall 2012 schedule!
Georgetown Freshman Survival Tip #10: Apply for Ignatius Seminars! It not only gives you one less class to pre-register for, but they are extremely rewarding classes. Take the class with President DeGioia and I promise you won’t regret it!