How to Survive Course Registration

Ah, it’s the most wonderful time of the semester. Course registration is upon us or as I like to call it, the College Hunger Games. From last semester seniors to freshmen doing this for the first time, it is stressful for us all.  If you’re already freaking out about this, don’t worry, we’ve got you. We have some advice on how to get through this.

1. Know how to use DegreeWorks.

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, I’m going to go over some basics. General Education, or Gen-eds, are classes that administration in their infinite wisdom has decided everyone must take. It can range from art classes to science labs. There are certain domains that have to be filled and then you can graduate. Then there are major classes, which are specific to your major. This is going to vary from major to major but usually it’s a bunch of classes within the major you can choose and a couple that you have to take at some point, like a research methods. Some classes have pre-requisites, or classes you have to take before you can take that one.

Framingham offers a lovely tool called DegreeWorks that shows you exactly what you have to do to graduate. Have this open in a different tab as you search for classes. You don’t want to end up taking a bunch of classes and then realize they didn’t count for the major or Gen-eds when you thought they would. DegreeWorks can tell you what Gen-eds and major specific classes you need (or don’t need). Don’t make any decisions until you know what you need.

2. Plan ahead

Keep in mind how many semesters you have to go and make a tentative plan for the rest of your college years. It’s okay for it to change but have some idea of when you’re taking specific requirements for you major. Be it research methods, thesis or seminar even if you’re not taking it this semester you should have them in the back of your mind. 

Don’t know what your major yet? That’s totally fine. College is the time to explore your interests. So take some classes that seem like fun to you. Just be aware you do eventually have to pick something. Junior year is usually considered the cut off since you’ve still got some time to fit in all the upper level courses.  

To search course registration, instead of sorting through all the classes on your own, use advanced search. There’s a bunch of options for searching beyond just what department. You can even search for a domain to fulfill Gen-eds, just highlight all the departments when you do that otherwise it won’t show any results.

3. Don’t waste your advisor’s time. Or your own.

Framingham State requires you meet with your academic advisor to get your pin to register for classes.  It may seem like a pain, but in reality this is really smart. This way you actually have to talk about your courses to someone who should know the process.  So when you go to meet with them, already have some idea of what classes you want to take. At least have searched for classes and know what you want.  This is a great opportunity for you to get some help, so take advantage of that. Don’t be that one person who walks in and has put no effort into this.

4. Excel spreadsheets are your friend.

Map out your schedule on Excel. That way you can visually see how your day is going to go. Also you won’t overlap classes without realizing it only to have your computer tell you as you’re trying to register. At least have something written down. Have it ready for when you meet with your advisor.

5. Have options.

It’s a sad fact, but sometimes you don’t get your first or even your second choice. Classes can fill up very quickly, depending on what it is. So have a couple different ideas for you what you want. Personally, we recommend three but that could be a tad excessive depending on your registration time. That being said, it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared. Create multiple spreadsheets for variations of your schedule and have a top three.

6. Go home.

We are serious. Go home for course registration if you can. Everyone and their mother and grandmother is going to be on the wifi and it’s going to be slow and awful. Get off campus if you can’t go home. Dunkins, Panera and McDonalds all have free Wi-Fi and you can treat yourself while you’re out.

Those are our tips for having a successful class registration. Comment with any tips you have that we missed. May the odds be ever in your favor!