Registration for JanTerm and Spring semester classes is coming up quickly — as early as Nov. 12 for fourth-years and Nov. 15 for first-years. As a first-year, this is my first time registering for classes without other students and professors in the room to answer questions or advise me. Although I have met with my advisor — and she made sure I was meeting both the school’s requirements and my personal interests, — I am on my own when it comes to actually adding classes to my schedule and having back-up courses just in case I do not get into my top choices.
So far, registering for classes has been quite stressful. We have to gauge how many classes we can fit into our schedule, try to judge which classes we think suit our interests and requirements, anticipate that we may not be able to get into some classes we want or need, and plan accordingly.
A lot goes into crafting a schedule, and I have spent quite a bit of time mapping out the possibilities and trying to make sure I have plenty of alternative courses just in case my first choices are full when I try to add them to my schedule.
I am a bit nervous that I will not be able to get into a lot of the classes I have chosen, and I anticipate that I likely won’t be able to because a number of them do not have seats reserved for first-years. The majority of them fall under the Liberal Education (LibEd) or Breadth requirements that I would prefer to get out of the way now and in my second year, rather than to have to worry about them as an upperclassman. I want to be able to focus on my major and personal interests for at least the last two years during my time at Whittier College. I would also like to give myself plenty of time to make sure I am meeting all the LibEd requirements, which, as of now, are still quite confusing to me. I have been using DegreeWorks, which I find to be an extremely useful tool, to guide me in choosing classes that fit my major, my minors, and all the requirements I need to fulfill.
I would advise all first-years to have DegreeWorks open when scheduling classes. I am sure countless upperclassmen and staff members have said the same thing, but I have found in looking up classes that quite a few courses fall under requirements that I would not have anticipated. For example, Business Law (Course Registration Number: 20028) is paired with History of the English Language (Course Registration Number: 21670). These courses are available for first years who have taken INTD 100 and Business and Society (BSAD 130), which is also available during JanTerm. There are a lot more possibilities like
this. It would be a good idea to check out any courses that sound interesting and try to fit any prerequisite or possible paired courses into your schedule along with them.
I would also advise scheduling ahead of time. I, and I’m sure most first-years, have heard stories about upperclassmen here being unable to get into most or even any of the classes they wanted. As first-years, we have advantages in a few classes, as some reserve seats specifically for us. Many, however, do not and it will be a race to get into them if upperclassmen do not fill them up first. If there is a class you really want or need, consider finding and talking to the professor that teaches it, and see if you can save yourself a seat in the class.
Overall, I think registration is going to be a stressful process no matter what. I wish I had been better prepared for registration going into it. When I first registered for my Fall semester classes, I had no idea that thirty credits were required to be considered a sophomore, so I did not actually pay attention to how many credits I had when adding to my schedule. Luckily, JanTerm can boost me up to a safe amount of credits moving into my second year (to read more about Janterms, see page 6), but I think having this information available to me before I registered for my Fall semester classes would have been useful, as I find it is helping me to keep that in mind as I prepare for Spring registration.
I asked a few of my peers what they think could be done to improve class registration, and I received this suggestion from first-year Maria Zabin: “Make a calendar online . . . it’ll show you if [a] class conflicts with another one you’re looking at, [and] you could prioritize the classes you wanted.” I agree with her; it would be very helpful to have an online calendar that would check whether or not any of the classes you have chosen will conflict in your schedule or not. I think it would save time and energy that a lot of students need in the midst of preparing for finals, especially for first-years, who are taking college finals for the first time.
I wish everyone luck in registering for classes. I hope it doesn’t take too much time away from general studies. Make sure to start adding classes as soon as your registration time opens! I have heard this from many upperclassmen and professors, and I think it is safe to assume that this will raise your chances of getting into the classes you want.