Registration Advice for Freshmen

If I had to warn any incoming college student or even first-semester freshmen about the worst day of college, it would 100% be registration day. I don’t mean to scare you, but I think everyone can agree on the stress and anxiety you feel when prepping for your advising meeting, and especially the morning of your registration date. Having gone through this process now for my fourth time, below are some tips that I have found helpful to me along the way to help ease registration stress.

First, here are some tips to prepare for registration in the days before:


1) Make at least 2 schedules that will work for you.

While this can be tedious, this is a super-easy way to make sure your alternatives can work for you. When making a second schedule, I first put in the courses I must take, and then put alternatives in for all the other courses I chose to take that weren’t quite necessary. Playing around with the different sections that are available for certain courses is also another way to create a second or third schedule. Having these available to you on registration day will allow you to easily see what courses you can take if any of your desired ones fill up!


2) Select several alternatives that you can replace a course/section with if it fills up.

Going along with the above tip, having at least one alternative course chosen for each of your desired courses is the best way to prepare for the worst. On registration day, I like to have the CRNs (course registration numbers) for each of my alternative courses written in parentheses next to the CRN of my desired course it can replace. This way I don’t have to look for the CRN among all my registration papers and not waste precious time when I find out a course has been capped. 


3) Check to make sure you have no holds on your account. 

Although it is typically the most forgotten step of registration, checking for holds on your account is the most important thing to do prior to registering. If you have any kind of hold on your account, you will not be able to register on your designated date. Advising holds will be lifted once all of your registration and advising forms are signed and received by the office of your school, however, any holds from financial aid, health services, etc. should be brought up with the corresponding office.


4) Check self service throughout the registration period.

I got this tip from an upperclassman my first semester registering, and it has been a lifesaver. Especially the night before your registration date, check all your courses on self service to see how many seats are available. Make sure to do this for both your desired and alternative courses as you do not want to find out that even your alternatives capped the morning of. 


5) Make sure you have the correct registration date.

Freshmen are set to register on Wednesday, April 14. However, some freshmen have extra credits that transfer from high school that may qualify you to register with the sophomores on Monday, April 12. Check your records in Self Service to see if you qualify to register as a sophomore, which requires 27-59 earned credits. Also, if you are an athlete or veteran, you are able to register earlier, on Wednesday, April 7. 


Next, here are some tips for the day of registration:

1) Have your CRNs written down in front of you.

Personally, I like to have my CRNs written on a sticky note to refer to throughout registration. On the sticky note, I list the CRNs in the order that I want to register for (1st CRN gets put in 1st) and list the alternative for each course in parentheses on the side. 


2) If you are taking a lab, make sure you put the lab’s CRN right after the lecture’s CRN.

While registering for classes may seem super easy, there is tiny detail you may need to be aware of when typing in your CRNs. If you are planning on registering for a science course that has a lab with a separate CRN, you must type in the lecture CRN first, and then the lab CRN directly after in the list. If this is not done correctly, you will not register for the science course correctly. 


3) Breathe!

If you do not get your desired courses, can’t get into an alternative, or absolutely hate your schedule, DO NOT WORRY! Take a moment, step back from it, and breathe. Your advisors, school secretaries, assistant deans, and registrar’s office staff are all available to help you out during the registration process. Contact your advisor as soon as possible if you run into any hiccups during registration and they will assist you in finding a solution.


Registration day can be super stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! I hope these tips will help you prepare for registration and get into all your desired classes. Best of luck with the process and remember that there are people available to help you with any difficulties!