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The Stressed Freshman’s Guide to USC Course Registration

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USC chapter.

Course registration is one of the most stressful and frustrating aspects when signing up for classes. As an incoming freshman, I was so excited to register for the classes I wanted to take. In high school, there was little flexibility when it came to signing up for classes that seemed interesting to me. However in college, there are so many options in and outside your major. 

If you’re like me, you love planning. I get the chance to tailor my schedule and the times I want to take a class around me. There are some inflexibilities – if a course only offers one section and the time is not ideal – but you’ll have to be flexible with it if it is a major required class. 

I have come to notice that registering for classes is not so glorious. In fact, it’s an extremely anxious time. When I was an incoming freshman registering for classes, it was stressful because classes kept filling up, Web Registration kept crashing and glitching, and access to the course registration site to view classes was slow. Here are some tips and things I wish I knew as a freshman:

Classes Fill Up Fast

You may want to sign up for Psych 100 for your GE D, but so does everyone else. Unfortunately, if it fills up from upperclassmen or psychology majors, you’ll have to take it your sophomore year! Some GE’s fill up quite fast, so find a couple classes that you like for one GE requirement. 

Have Backup Classes

Since classes fill up faster than the webpage does on Web Registration during your registration slot, be prepared to have about three backup classes you want to take. Even major required classes such as chemistry or physics labs go quickly, so having multiple classes that work with your schedule that you plan ahead of time will improve your chances of getting the class you want.

Download Schedule Helper

Schedule helper is a Chrome extension programmed to let you know if the classes you are looking at overlap. It also lets you sign up to get notified if a spot opens for a full class. It helps a lot to not have to go back and forth between the myCalendar tab and the course list tab. If you’re not a big fan of planning, this is definitely for you!

Know What You Want to Take in Regards to Your Four Year Plan

If you’re doing a heavy course load or heavy credit major, it is difficult to fit extra classes into your course load outside of your major. I am an engineering major, and I wanted to minor in a 20 credit minor, but my academic advisor said I would need to stay an extra semester or take multiple classes over the summer to fit my minor in. If you want to graduate on time or in your designated four years, definitely plan ahead of time if you want to minor, emphasize, or study abroad. I had a friend at another college say she was taking multiple courses for fun; however, she was behind in getting the credits for her major, so she took classes over the summer. Talk to your advisor about  your plan as well! They are there to help you graduate in four years!

Get D-Clearance Ahead of Time if Needed

The last thing you want is to finally set your schedule and checkout on Web Registration and have the error message appear because you do not have clearance. If a class is listed as “R,” it is open to anyone, but if there is a “D” there is a restriction or clearance that needs to be made by your advisor. It’s usually a prerequisite that needs to be cleared or a paper you have to sign to be able to take the class.

Pick Multiple WRIT-150 Or GESM Classes

Since these required classes are pretty small, slots may fill up quickly for what you want. Also, the topic you choose will most likely determine how engaged you will be in the class. If it’s a topic you really like you will enjoy it a lot, but if it is a topic you are not that interested in, you’ll find the class boring. These classes contain a lot of reading and writing, so choosing multiple topics and having them set in your course bin is a plus.

Plan and Be Prepared 

Be prepared for the Web Registration site to lag, make sure you have your classes written down just in case the course bin glitches, and be prepared to have backup classes. It is tough not to get the classes you want, but the more credits you have, the earlier you will be able to register for classes.

While it may be an exciting and stressful time, there are many resources, faculty, and students to help you out. Advisors hold drop-in hours, there are some students that will help you schedule classes, and I am sure your fellow students will help you out if you have a question about a class. Good luck with registration!

Sydney Fiorentino is a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering. She has a strong interest in journalism. She likes to sing, walk, and listen to music.
Katie Muschalik is a film student at the University of Southern California. Everything she ever needed to know she learned from a Judy Blume book.