Freshmen prepare to register on their own

Beginning Tuesday and lasting until Thursday, University freshmen start the process of course registration for spring 2014. Although registration can be stressful for all students, it can be especially intimidating for freshmen, who are enrolling in classes on their own for the first time.

The registration process is different for all students. At the University, students are given registration time slots — with honor students, Disability Resources & Educational Services students and athletes having the first pick, then seniors, juniors, sophomores and finally, freshmen, according to the Office of the Registrar website. In the summer prior to the start of their first semester, freshmen attend registration and pick their classes in the presence of an adviser from their respective college. The adviser is there to answer any questions students may have, as well as help them plan out a balanced class load.  When it comes time to register for their second semester, however, students are expected to use the University’s enterprise system on their own. 

Rebecca Waxman, freshman in DGS, expressed her concerns on registering for classes on her own on Tuesday.

“I am a little nervous to register for classes on my own for the first time,” she said. “Especially since I am undeclared, I have more liberty on what classes to choose from, and want to pick classes that are going to be worth it.”

Waxman said seeing her adviser before her time ticket opened and talking to her brother, who is a senior at the University, helped her feel confident in picking out classes she needs for next semester.

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“I also went online (before) and chose the certain classes I wanted, hoping that they will still be open by the time I register,” Waxman said. 

Justine Karduck, academic adviser in ACES, said that while the registration process is relatively easy, first-year students should make sure to read all the directions thoroughly and meet with their adviser prior to registering.

“There are a lot of intricacies to the process, and it takes a well-planned student to figure out what goes where on their schedule,” Karduck said. “Self-advising can be dangerous. We advise you with the best sections and classes based on your unique situation. We want to make sure we are on the same page as you.”

Karduck said that although some freshmen may find the registration process to be overwhelming, many believe the major stress factor in signing up for classes is knowing they are the last to enroll. 

“It makes sense, because upperclassmen need certain classes to graduate and complete their majors, but it is still sometimes frustrating,” Waxman said. “I’m just concerned I won’t get into the classes I need to get into.”

Barbara Anderson, academic adviser in Media, said that while signing up for classes last can be frustrating to freshmen, the “colleges do a good job of making sure there are seats open for freshmen in classes they need to get into.”

“Seniors have worked hard to get where they are, and they are out of time,” Anderson said. “Freshmen still have time to be flexible.” 

Karduck echoed this sentiment. 

“We have to give priority to the older students. Seniors go before freshmen because they have been here longer and need certain classes to graduate on time,” she said. “It’s part of life that as a freshman you go last, but soon enough you won’t be a freshman and you’ll have seniority.”

To make registration easier on students, Karduck suggested that freshmen plan out their schedules ahead of time, go through the registration check list available on the University’s Office of the Registrar’s website and watch the registration video tutorial on the Admissions website.

Anderson said that a successful registration can come down to having a backup plan and being open to trying something new, even if the classes’ time slot may not be ideal. 

“Don’t panic,” Anderson said. “A class you need might be at a time you don’t love, but it could be a class that changes your world view. Forcing yourself to get out of bed might be worth it. And if you aren’t sure what to do, double check with your adviser.”

Christine can be reached at [email protected].