Tips for Registering for Your First Semester of College Courses

You have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking your college courses. While this freedom is exciting, it can also be overwhelming. How do you know what classes to take? Are there classes you are required to take? Well, here are some tips that can help you prepare for registering for your first semester of college courses!
1. Sign Up for Required Courses – Your advisor should let you know what classes you need to take as a freshman. Usually, these classes can include a freshman seminar class which helps orientate you to the college setting, a first-year writing class and some type of math class. Beyond these, you may be required to take certain classes based on the major you’re pursuing such as an introductory biology or chemistry class. So make sure to keep in contact with your advisor so that you’re staying on track with your courses.
2. Explore Your Interests – College offers much more diverse courses than your high school. Therefore, you’re able to take courses that interest you. For example, my first semester of college, I took a class on American Popular Music. In all honesty though, it ended up being one of the hardest classes I took as a college student — it was harder than some of my core major classes — so I recommend reading the course description of a class before you register for it. Also, make sure to look up the professor, if possible, to know what to expect in the class. 
3. Are You Exempt From Any Courses? – I was surprised to find out how many courses I was exempt from. I didn’t realize how much AP credits, and even ACT test scores (I do know that students take the SAT now however) could impact the classes I had to take. So find out what classes you are exempt from so you don’t accidentally try signing up for them. Trust me, any extra credits as well as exemptions will help you in the long run.  
4. Gen Eds – Since this is just your first semester, you’ll likely want to focus on your general education requirements. Thankfully, you have plenty to choose from. Make sure to try and find a curriculum list to see which classes fulfill which gen ed requirement. Your advisor should be able to provide you with this list. 
5. Take Enough Credits to Be a Full-Time Student – Most colleges require their students to take 12 credits to be considered full-time. However, most students take between 15-18 credits in order to graduate college in four years. As a first semester student though, you may want to take around 12 credits so you can get used to the college atmosphere. 
6. RateMyProfessor is Your New Best Friend – I’ll be honest, I did not take a class unless I was able to find the professor on RateMyProfessor. Maybe I missed out on some great classes because of this but I’ll likely never know. RateMyProfessor is a website where students review professors based on the workload they gave and the quality of teaching they provided. The website allows you to get an idea on what you can expect from a course you’re interested in taking. I highly recommend it! 
7. Research Classes Beforehand and Create a Schedule – It’s important to pick classes that go well with your schedule. If you’re not a morning person, maybe try to schedule classes later in the day. If you’re working a job or are considering an internship, make sure to find classes that work around that. By researching classes prior to registration, you will feel a lot more prepared by the time you do have to register. 
8. Classes Fill Up Quickly, so Register ASAP – Even if you’re not so sure about whether or not you want to take a class, I recommend signing up for it because classes fill up quickly. If you decide later on you don’t want to take the class, you can drop it. 
9. Take Advantage of Course Opening Notifications – Was a class you needed to take filled up? Don’t stress. People always drop class, especially during the first two weeks of school. Make sure to check often if a course seat opens up, especially once school starts. Some schools even have apps that will notify you when a seat becomes available for a class you want to take. My school used coursicle.  This app made it easy to know when a spot in a class became available so I was quickly able to take it. If you can’t get a seat though, just remember, you still have several semesters to take that class so don’t be too stressed!

Hopefully some of these tips can help you become more prepared for registration. I was always a nervous wreck when it came to registering for classes because I was anxious about my classes. However, as soon as registration was over and I was able to get all of the classes I wanted, I always felt relieved. So good luck with registration and remember these tips!

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