April 27, 2012

Post-Registration Blues

Let me guess, registration for the fall semester didn’t quite go as planned? You used the Course Schedule Planner (or good old paper and pen) to create the ideal schedule. You were excited for the fall semester. Then, you logged into WebReg and your classes were closed! Your life plans are shot, right?
Not even a little bit!
It will all be ok. Take a deep breath or a walk, then come back and read this post. Don’t worry, Dean Frosh will wait for you……
seriously, how far did you go?...
Ok, welcome back! Dean Frosh hopes you feel a little better, and if you don’t yet, hopefully you will after reading this post.
Remember that registration is a process.  Did you know that this registration period is actually called “pre-registration”? We give students the opportunity to start working on their schedule now, but most students will continue to work on that schedule through the first week of the semester (the add/drop period). It’s rare for someone to get their ideal schedule during pre-registration.

Here are some thoughts to help you feel better about what just happened:
Be patient. Dean Frosh knows your first instinct is to run to the department or instructor to plead your case for a special permission number. Keep in mind that most departments are going to deny requests at this point. Here’s why:

1.       During pre-registration, some students will register for anything that’s open just to get to 12 credits, but have no intention of keeping all of those courses. So seats will open up.
2.       Students’ plans change over the summer and they drop classes that are no longer needed. So seats will open up.
3.       Students are taking a class in the summer but register for it in the fall to hold a spot in that class “just in case.” Those students will adjust their schedules when their summer class ends, and seats will open up.
4.       WebReg allows students to register for classes if they’re in the prerequisite now, or registered for the prereq in the summer at Rutgers. The sad reality is that some students will not pass the prerequisite and will be dropped, and seats will open up.
5.       Spaces in some courses (including Signature courses) are held for incoming students. Once those students have registered, any remaining seats will be available to all students. Don’t get mad, we did this for you, too! And it means that seats will open up.
6.       Some departments restrict courses or sections of courses to certain schools or majors. Once those students have been given ample time to register, the restrictions will be lifted, and seats will open up.
Dean Frosh has just shown you six ways that seats will open up. For these reasons, most departments wait to grant special permission numbers.

Be flexible. Dean Frosh knows there are some really popular classes here; but she also knows those classes aren’t the only games in town. If you planned to take a class that was certified for some area in the Core curriculum, consider fulfilling a different learning goal instead. You can always plan to take that original class in a different semester!
And Dean Frosh has a crazy thought: take an elective. Incoming students at SAS are given 120 credits that they must spend in order to graduate. It is a credit gift card; each student can spend those credits as they wish, but they all must be spent. Everyone spends a portion of those credits on their major, their minor, and the Core. BUT, almost everyone will still have a balance. In other words, most students NEED to spend credits on things that don’t seem to fit into any requirement area so that they can graduate.
What to do now?
1.       Don’t panic. Or if you are still feeling worried, come to speak to a reference dean at one of the Advising Centers (http://sasundergrad.rutgers.edu/academics/advising/see-an-sas-dean-general-advising).
2.       If you aren’t registered for a full-time course load of at least 12 credits, do that by the end of next week. You should create a schedule that contains classes that you would be happy taking next semester if your original selections don’t open up.
Check the Schedule of Classes daily to see if spaces open up. WebReg is open all summer, so you can make changes then, too!