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Registration Tips for Your Best Semester Ever

Today, I am registering for my last fall semester. I still can’t believe that I’m a rising senior and will soon leave Clemson, but instead of dwelling on how much I’ll miss these hills, I’m trying to live in the moment and appreciate all I’ve learned over the last 3 years.

And through years of trial and error, I now know all the tips and tricks for registration. So, if you want to avoid messy schedules and registration day stress, keep reading.

Know your registration time slot and prepare in advance.

The worst thing you can do is not prepare for registration. In the blind panic of your time slot, you might just miss the perfect section or forget to add a required course. Weeks in advance, look for your time slot and put it in your planner. The more time you have to prepare, the better off you’ll be. Plus, if you find out you’re in class or lab during your time slot, you can contact your professors to work out a plan. Remember, as you take more credits, your time slot will be earlier, so don’t despair if you have a bad time slot now.

Always check for corequisite & prerequisite courses.

Even I forget about corequisite and prerequisite courses, but if you neglect them, you’ll get an error message that will ruin your entire plan. For prerequisite classes, make sure you’ve completed the course and received a satisfactory grade before adding it to your plan. Corequisite courses must be taken during the same semester, and they can either be section-specific or non-section-specific. Though the registration plan program doesn’t require you to add corequisites, add them to see if there are any conflicts.

Make more than one plan.
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iRoar lets you make two plans, so take advantage of that feature. Often, I make about four plans and delete the others as I go. If you only make one plan, you may miss out on a more advantageous configuration. Play around with different classes and sections to see what works best.

Check the grade distributions and ask around for class advice.

I never register before looking up grade distributions. Often, it’s worth taking a less appealing section for a better professor. However, a good grade distribution doesn’t promise a positive experience or a high GPA. Reach out to peers to learn more about classes and professors. Often, I reach out to current classmates or large group chats to ask questions.

Go to your advisor.

Advisors are meant to advise you, so actually talk to them. Sometimes, they can give you fantastic advice or help you make the perfect schedule. My advisor is very familiar with the Political Science Department and told me which classes I should take if I am interested in law school. When I had issues with DegreeWorks, he also helped me identify solutions and directed me to resources. Some advisors are better than others, but even if you have a negative experience, don’t let that keep you from going back. They’re meant to help you!

Make a long-term plan.

As you near graduation, you have a select number of courses you need to take in a short window of time, so don’t neglect your long-term plan. I’ve known too many seniors who had to take heavy course loads their final semester just to graduate, and it’s an easily avoided problem. You don’t need to be specific in your plan, but plot out when you’ll take specific requirements to make sure it all fits.

Consider your lifestyle and preferences.

If you’re a morning person, don’t take night classes. If you hate having back-to-back classes and need time to relax, schedule breaks. If you live off-campus, try to schedule your classes in blocks to avoid driving to and from campus. You’ll be taking these classes for months, so your preferences and lifestyle are important considerations. Be honest with yourself when scheduling. I would love to be the person who breezes through 8 a.m. classes, but I’m not. So, when I register, I take that into account.

Maintain balance in your schedule.
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Don’t put all of your hard classes in one semester, and don’t put all of your general education requirements off until the end. Consider the rigor and workload before registering. During my junior year, I took too many hard classes at once, and it was miserable. I was always stressed and couldn’t give my all in any of my classes, and my GPA suffered. While it didn’t ruin my life, it did teach me the value of balance.

Prioritize what you need and what works for you, not your friend’s schedule.

Would it be awesome to take classes with your friends and have a built-in study group? Sure, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration. Prioritize your needs before your desire to be with friends. Be honest about your relationship, too. If your friend easily distracts you, it would be unwise to take classes together. However, if your friend motivates you, maybe you should try to sync your schedules. Even if you don’t have the same classes, you’ll still see your friends.

Accept that your schedule won’t always be perfect.
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You’re going to have a few crappy schedules in college, no matter how hard you try. That’s okay! You’ll get through it, and next time, you may have more luck. Honestly, some of my best semesters have had really awkward schedules.

Mayme Medlock is a junior at Clemson University, studying political science with an emphasis in international relations. In her free time, you'll find her chasing cute dogs, talking about studying abroad in the Balkans, watching copious amounts of Netflix, and putting people at ease when they question her name's pronunciation (May-m, not May-me).
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