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Not-So Late Registration: 7 Tips to Secure Your Spring Semester Schedule

It’s about that time once again. Registration for the spring semester has begun. We all know how stressful the registration process can be, from having to wait in the Financial Aid office to get a hold lifted or meet with your advisor. For the freshmen trying to get the hang of selecting the best courses for next semester– and for the few upperclassmen who are still confused on how to get their alternate pin– here are some tips on making the best of registration. 

Check your graduation scheme.

The very first thing you should do is check what the actual requirements are for your major. Most schools provide graduation schemes for each major that tell you what classes you have to take and their prerequisites if they have one. Don’t just register for any and every class and derail yourself from graduating on-time.

Set an appointment with your advisor.

If you still aren’t sure what classes you should take (and even if you are) you should definitely make an appointment to meet with your academic advisor. If you don’t know who they are *insert non-judgmental side-eye here*, this is the perfect time to meet them. Registration is a busy time for everyone, though, so it may have been difficult to get a lengthy meeting in, but your advisor should definitely know your face as you should know theirs.

Don’t overload your credits if it isn’t necessary.

Don’t think that you have to pack in all of your classes into one semester. Take into account the time that you’ll need outside of class to study and tend to your other responsibilities. Over-scheduling yourself is the easiest way to ensure that you’ll burn out and spend your semester stressed. Howard recommends taking 15 credits a semester to stay on track to graduate in four years. If you have no choice but to have a packed schedule, be wary of what other responsibilities you take on next semester so you can focus on getting that 4.0.

Get your major requirements out of the way first.

This goes back to the first tip. After checking your graduation scheme, you should have an idea of what classes you should register for. Those courses should be on the top of your priority list when you actually register. That way, you know if you need to see your advisor for an override if anything conflicts or if any other problems come up in your registration process. Once all of that is taken care of, register for a class you are interested in (if your schedule allows).

Don’t take early classes if you know you won’t make them.

The number one piece of advice that you’ve heard plenty of times. Let me repeat it: Do not take early classes if you know you won’t make them. If you have absolutely no choice but to take 8 am (or even a 9 am), then you know you’ll need to plan accordingly. But if there are options for later time slots, register for one of them. You’ll thank yourself later.    

Have a backup plan.

Especially for freshmen, if the classes you want or need are full, don’t freak out. Since most of the classes you’re taking now are general requirements, maybe try to squeeze in some courses for your major, or vice versa. Don’t bet on that perfect schedule working out. You may have to make some compromises when it comes to what classes you take next semester and at what times.

Use Degree works.

Degree works is a tool offered through BisonWeb that gives you a checklist of all the courses you need to take to fulfill the requirements for your major and/or minor. It shows what courses you’ve already taken, courses that are in progress, and courses you still need to take. There are also features that allow you to see what your requirements will be for various majors, concentrations, and minors. You can even predict your GPA: Input your current grades to see what you’ll have at the end of the semester or find out what grades you need to get the GPA you want. You can access Degree Works by going to BisonWeb and selecting Student Services> Student Records> Degree Works

Kési Felton is a junior at Howard University in Washington, DC majoring in Journalism with a minor in Sociology. Having attended writing and photojournalism summer camps and growing up around Atlanta's CNN Center she discovered her love for journalism. Upon starting her journey at Howard, she rediscovered writing as a way to share her life experiences and connect with a larger audience. Through writing about pertinent social, political, and cultural issues she hopes to establish her unique identity as a Black female journalist and create more opportunities for Black people to share their stories.
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