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I definitely felt my heart skip a beat when I got the email for course registration times and the fall semester schedule being posted. Course registration is a critical time of the semester, and it happens fast. After a few semesters, one gets a grip on how to take on the challenge of registering and gathers a sense of the best, or most effective, ways to get yourself prepared for the day of registration and the semester ahead. Some of them are self-explanatory, but others hopefully will come as a helpful reminder.

1. Degree Audit is your New BFF

If it isn’t already, Lafayette’s Degree Audit is going to be what you need to steer yourself through, however swimmingly or not, course registration. To access it, go to your My Lafayette and find it beneath the Advising & Registration section. Degree Audit is a concise, up-to-date platform that details exactly what you need to graduate. It outlines both your common course of study requirements, as well as your major(s) and minor(s) requirements. Please, if you don’t already know Degree Audit, familiarize yourself with it as soon as possible; it’s a lifesaver.

Degree Audit is the go-to for picking courses. Let it guide you, because it will keep you on track. Keep it bookmarked and check it frequently during this period, because even if other factors don’t have your back, Degree Audit certainly does.

2. Communicate with your advisor

You don’t have to have the same type of BFF relationship with your advisor that you do a Degree Audit, but you should be knowledgeable about them and at least make sure they know your name and face. For registration, everyone needs a PIN given to them from their advisor, so there is always a line of communication present between advisor and advisee. 

It’s important though, whether you’re writing simply through email, or meeting in person, to not hold back in expressing confusion, concern, or need for advice in the process of selecting your courses. Especially if you’re focused on courses for your major, your advisor is in the department; they’re a wonderful resource. Don’t hesitate to use them for more than a PIN number. 

With that said, advisors are professors and have busy schedules too. If you’re not meshing with your advisor for whatever reason, consider finding a new one, or just relying on other professors you know for advice on what to pick, etc. This is your academic journey, if an advisor is getting in the way of your efficiency and success, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

3. Lists, lists, lists

If you’re not a list person already, course registration is guaranteed to make you so. Pen and paper, Notes app, and Google Docs are going to be your platform for planning out everything you need to get taken in your time here. Reference your lists, recheck and recheck. It’s also super helpful to have things written down if you intend to meet with your advisor to go over things, or to chat with other people you know and be precise in what the course fulfills, where it takes place, etc.

If you have two majors, or even a minor, this is especially critical to make sure you’re covering your bases for exactly what you need.

4. Become familiar with offerings

This comes with time spent on campus and in classes, but it’s good to be keeping a tab in your mind during the semester and learning about when certain courses are offered. I know for some of my majors there are only certain times where I can take one class that is required for my degree. So, if I don’t take it in the fall when it’s offered, then I would have to wait again until next fall. The easiest way to be on top of this? Talk to professors. Talk to upperclassmen.

Keep yourself in the loop of when things are offered during the year, so later in the semester when registration comes around, you’re set to know what is being offered ahead.

Also, there’s a good chance your major(s) department is holding a brief meeting to discuss what’s being offered over the course of the next month. A lot of them do, and it’s a nice way to connect with a department and other students, as well as be informed on what the courses are and ask any questions.

5. Give yourself grace

Course registration time is never fun. It’s affirming, because we all pick courses for another semester in our academic career, placing us one step closer to becoming a graduate, but it’s not inherently enjoyable. The process is tedious, and it always comes at a time when you don’t have the patience to be thinking about next semester’s courses on top of what courses you’re already taking.

Please be kind to yourself during these weeks. Talk to people you know, your professors, friends, that kid who you only know from that one class you took for a general requirement, whoever – communicate. I find that talking about my process with courses can be really beneficial, and sometimes someone can offer advice or give me a suggestion on a certain course or professor to take or avoid. Everyone’s stressed about it; you’re certainly not the only one.

And most importantly – wake up on time! Check, double check, and triple check that you have the right time, your PIN (guard that with your life), and a well rested self prior to the morning of registration. Wake up a few days before at the time you need to be to get yourself adjusted and prepared.

Best of luck for a smooth registration!

Emily Mackin

Lafayette '24

an admirer of all things that make life beautiful
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