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10 Essential Things for New Students to Keep in Mind When Registering for Classes

Registering for classes each semester is an important task but can also be a stressful process. Will you be able to get all of the classes you need? Will you be able to get the kind of schedule you want? By keeping in mind the ten essential factors below, you can boost your chances of having a successful class registration period.

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By Jessica Lyons

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1. Do I have introductory or prerequisites I need to take?

There are going to be some basic classes you'll have to take before you can move on to the more advanced ones. As you put together the list of classes you want to register for, make sure to first take any introductory classes or prerequisites that you still have left.

2. Do I have a back-up class if one is full?

If you plan on registering for five classes, be sure to have a list of eight ready. That way, if as you're registering you get the unpleasant surprise that one or more of your tops choices are full, you'll have some alternatives ready.

3. Is this class offered other semesters?

Say you're having a hard time deciding between taking a psychology course that is only offered in the fall and a theology class that is offered in the fall and the spring. You should definitely try to get a spot in the psychology course first since there are more semesters when you can register for the theology class.

4. Will this class cause any scheduling conflicts?

Although you shouldn't be scheduling your classes around your favorite soap opera, there are legitimate things to keep in mind like a job or family commitments. Before deciding to take a particular course, double-check when it's being offered to ensure you don't accidentally register for a class that you can't actually make it to.

5. Will the class help fulfill my degree requirements?

One of the most frustrating things that can happen is spending an entire semester working hard to earn a good grade in a class that ends up not getting you closer to earning your degree. Check with your academic advisor to verify that any class you're considering really will count toward your degree.

6. Is this class online or on campus?

Don't be in such a hurry to register for classes that you're not paying attention to all of the details, such as if you're registering for an online or campus-based class. You definitely don't want to sign up for an online course if you already know you're not the type of student who can handle it.

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7. Does the class involve a lab?

Particularly if you're looking to take some science or foreign language classes, see if there is a lab component. If you don't want to deal with a lab on top of the actual classes, then search your class options further to find one that doesn't have a lab.

8. If I don't get into this class will I need to try to 'crash' it?

Are you in a position where this is your last chance to take a particular class if you want to be able to graduate on time? If you are, then that class has to be your top priority when it comes to registering. And if there is a real concern that you might not be able to snag a spot in that class, talk to your academic advisor to see if there's anything he or she can do to help you.

9. Am I challenging myself with the classes?

It can be tempting to try to register for the easiest classes you can find. But remember that college is a time to challenge yourself and be intellectually stimulated. So even if you throw an easier class in there now and then, make sure you're also enrolling in classes that will really make you think and learn.

10. Am I scheduling too many classes in a single day?

If you create a day for yourself that is one class right after another a few days a week, it could be too much to handle. You won't get much of a break in the day to recharge and it will also make it overwhelming to have seemingly all of your assignments due at the same time. So before you register, take a look at the schedule you're planning to see if you can handle it without completely tiring yourself out.

While you're deciding which classes to register for, you might want to consider some unique elective courses.

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