Currently listening to: Guster – Either Way
I just… I just can’t believe I have one semester left. I’m in that crummy, middle-of-semester, bogged down with exams and papers mode, and I am still loving all of this. I am too aware that college is awesome, and as I watch the seasons change – geez, it’s my last autumn! – I can’t help but wonder where I will be one year from now. Any other seniors out there scared out of their minds?
Anyway, I registered for my spring set of classes this morning. It was different than my previous registrations – I only have 5 classes left to take, and UT allows students to register according to their class rank – seniors first, followed by juniors, sophomores, and (so sorry) freshmen last. To this day, I’m not sure how they decide what day different sections of a class get to register – I’ve heard rumblings that it’s alphabetical, and they flip each semester. Any of ya’ll know the truth? Leave a comment!
When picking what classes to take, I consult the following sources:
- Degree requirement checklist - Like Shakira’s hips, the DRC doesn’t lie. It’s a good method to see what classes you’ve completed and what you have left. You can pick up a checklist in your academic advisor’s office.
- Advisor – They are a second set of eyes on your checklist. But be warned – they are not perfect, and they will make mistakes. I’ve had classmates who were ill-advised and had to graduate late as a result. This past fall, my advisor was not well-read on the university’s policies about double-majoring and vehemently insisted I was short on my electives. I ended up registering for 21 hours – that’s 7 classes! After triple-checking my checklist, insisting that my degree audit be run again, and actually writing down what classes I had left, it turned out she got her numbers mixed up and I was actually par for the course. My advisor issued no apology (UT will sometimes disappoint you, it’s true) but I was able to drop 2 classes without being financially penalized. So remember – in order to graduate with 2 degrees, you need 144 hours – NOT 150!
- Friends and classmates – they’re a good source of information – which professors let you leave early, what TA sessions tend to be canceled, can you swap textbooks. The good stuff.
- Pickaprof.com – Pickaprof has been around since I was a freshman (<3 the internet) and has improved with each semester. It gives you grade summaries, real student evaluations, and lets you create tentative schedules with potential classes. A fantastic organizer and way to save yourself from a terrible teacher.
As far as the actual registration process, I’ve got some tried and true tips for you:
- Prepare – Use the aforesaid tips above to know which classes to sign up for. Do your research ahead of time, not 10 minutes before registration! You can also see what time you are registering by checking your RIS – Registration Information Sheet, available when you log in to your UT account.
- Copy and paste – You register for a class using the course unique number (a 5-digit number), so I usually open a Google Document with my saved unique numbers and just copy and paste the number into the registration box. It saves time and leaves no room for error.
- Internet connection – I had a friend who lived at San Jacinto dormitory and her internet connection failed right at registration; she frantically used her roommate’s computer 5 minutes later only to find all her necessary class sections already closed or waitlisted. The wireless on campus is usually dependable (restricted.utexas.edu), and there are multiple places on campus where you can use a desktop computer, such as the Perry Castenada Library (PCL in UT lingo) or the Flawn Academic Center (FAC).
- Set an alarm – It is a bad idea to sleep through your registration period. I did that in the spring of my junior year… woke up 2 hours late to find the public relations class I needed already full. I’m suffering now.
- Have backups – You’re not always going to get the teacher or time slot you want, so have a list of backups to fall back on. You can always drop them at a later point – in fact, you have until the 12th class day to drop a class.
- Waitlists are your friend – And a good one at that. It’s frustrating to be on a list, but classes do fluctuate in registration and size. Get on that list and try your luck – even if it means #41 on the waitlist of…41 students.
I probably made registration sound a little terrifying, but it’s really not. Just have a plan of action and enjoy the ride – and plus, think of all the cool classes you’ll get to take! I’ve registered for the infamous “Human Sexuality” class with some of my girlfriends…we’ll see how that goes.