Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Letter from the editor: plan ahead for class registration

By Jessica Trondsen, Managing News Editor

In this lovely, but stressful, span of time between midterms and finals, registering for new classes is probably the last thing on our minds.

Yet — maybe due to timing alone — I can’t help but think the chance to start anew sounds wonderful. As registration approaches, let’s all be alert, safe and smart about the classes we choose.

1. Pay attention to the requirements of your major and do so early.

I came to Pacific Lutheran University 97 percent certain I would be an English major. Because of that 3 percent hesitation, I dabbled in general education courses (gen-eds) like nobody’s business and finished year one with only four English credits completed.

And because life is funny, during my gen-ed meandering I decided to tack on a communication major and a women’s and gender studies minor to my now declared English major. Now, I had a lot less room for wandering.

Stay on track. Regardless of class standing, make sure you’re working with an adviser or professor in picking classes. If you’re a full-time student, take a full schedule.

Another fantastic resource for course planning is the ‘What-If Analysis’ on BannerWeb. Select a major or minor, and the program will show how close you are to completion based on classes you’ve already taken. 

Using this feature, I realized I’m only three classes away from turning my women’s and gender studies minor into a major, should I want to reconfigure my degrees.

2. Pick at least one class you know without fail you will like.

I’m not athletic, but I love yoga. By taking the yoga PE class, not only will I gain one more PE credit, but I will also get to do something I love that I don’t often have time for.

Sign me up, please. 

Or pick a class taught by a professor you already like. You need something to look forward to, even if it’s at 8 a.m. on Monday.

Undeclared or undecided? Find something you think you might want to turn into a major, like another psychology class, because you’re enjoying 101 this semester.

3. Be flexible and prepared.

Let’s be real here: the yoga class is really popular. Even with my junior standing, it may fill up before I can register.

In all my registration experiences, I have never been able to sign up for everything I wanted exactly when I felt like taking it. This happens for a variety of reasons:  two classes are offered at the same time, one class actually needs a prerequisite or I’m the 21st person trying to sign up for a class with 20 slots and no waitlist.

To ensure no delays, take care of holds on your account, keep your access code handy and have back up classes in mind before registration.

Know what else I love? Tennis. If yoga fills up, you bet I will be out on the courts next spring.

Some degrees don’t have the flexibility of my three programs. Make sure you have back-up courses in mind and are following the path of your major with as few obstacles as possible.

Plan ahead.