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​How to Register for College Classes

Last updated November 13, 2023

The process of registering for college classes can be intimidating, especially at bigger schools with limited spots available! Here’s everything you need to know about registering for college classes, like how to pick classes and how to prepare to register, to make your next registration day go smoothly and stress-free!

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Before registering

Clear any holds

Check your student account online to make sure you don’t have any holds that are preventing you from registering. These “holds,” or things that are flagged in your account, can vary from not having paid your tuition for the following term, to not returning a book or piece of equipment from the library (if you’re a returning student). You can’t register for classes with any kind of hold on your account, so make sure they’re all cleared well before it’s time to register! Check in with your school’s student services department or financial aid office to learn more about getting your holds lifted.

While you’re in your student account, take the time to familiarize yourself with it and all of its different functions. Locate where and how to register for classes, and even practice registering a few times. Every moment matters when you’re registering for classes, especially if you're attending a bigger school, as spots may fill up quickly.

Pick your classes early

Before registering, open up your school’s general education or core curriculum and course catalog and read it thoroughly. This is a great opportunity to explore majors or classes that interest you. If you have already declared a major, be sure to look closely at its course and credit requirements to make sure the classes you want to take will help you stay on track to graduate. Consider these things a week or two before registering; it can save you some time the day you actually register. 

Here are some other important considerations when picking classes:

  • Do I really need to take this class? Will taking this class advance you in getting your college degree? Is the class required to graduate in your major? Will it give you enough credits?
  • Does this class make sense with my schedule? While academics are the most important thing about attending college, you may likely have other obligations outside of school, like work, hobbies, clubs, and friends. Will taking this class interrupt your ability to do other things? Think about this particularly when considering taking a class that you don’t need to graduate.
  • What electives can I take? You can learn AND have fun in college! If your schedule allows it, try taking a fun, low-credit course. Some colleges offer electives like ballet, improv acting, or painting to help students explore their interests outside of their majors.

Choose backup classes

You never know which classes will fill up quickly, so it’s important to have some backup classes in mind! It’s better to have a backup plan than scramble to search for other classes while you're registering. Be sure that these backup classes still fit your course and graduation requirements, just like your first choice ones.

Now that you’ve identified your list of primary and backup classes, it’s time to meet with your academic advisor.

Meet with your academic advisor

Whether it’s required or optional to register for classes, it’s always good to meet with your academic advisor beforehand. You can show them your list of primary and backup classes and ask them any questions about your intended schedule. They can also offer some insight into how these classes will help you progress toward completing your degree. 

The day of registration

Set an alarm to register

Registering for college classes can be competitive at some schools– especially larger ones. Look for a registration alert in your student account or email to know when your registration time is, and set an alarm for 10-15 minutes before this time. You will want to be at your computer with a good internet connection with enough time to restart your computer, troubleshoot, or address any student account issues that may arise. 

After registering

If you don’t get into a class you want or need, get on the waitlist for it and sign up for any alerts from the professor (if this is an option). Make an appointment with your academic advisor to see if you have any special circumstances that can help your case for getting a spot in the class, like needing the class to graduate on time.

If you do end up getting into the class, submit your paperwork to be officially admitted ASAP and withdraw from the other class you registered for as a placeholder (if you did so). If you don’t end up getting into the class, don’t stress! Be sure to talk to your academic advisor to make a backup plan and learn more about other classes that could work with your schedule.

Any questions about registering for college classes? Text #Hello to 33-55-77 (click here to have the text message set up for you) and our advisors will be there to guide you through the process!

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