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Course Registration Guide

Sherry provides a summary of how course registration works at Carleton.

Sherry provides a summary of how course registration works at Carleton.

Never done college course registration before? Don’t worry. The registrar’s office has all the detailed instructions on its web page. To make things easier, I want to simplify the whole process by outlining the following five steps. Feel free to review them before you do your first registration for the fall term!

1. Check your registration time—Are you the lucky one?

Like at other colleges, the registration at Carleton goes by class year. This means that seniors always register for classes first, followed by juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. Before the first course registration in an academic year, the registration times for different class years will be listed on the “priority time” page. To ensure fairness for students, the priority number changes randomly by your last name between 1 and 9 each term and adds up to 15 in a given academic year. If you get 1 this term, it’s very likely that you’ll get 9 in another term. When planning for the courses, it is wise take your priority time into consideration.

Registration time for the 21-22 academic year

Alternatively, your registration time can also be found on the Hub—a central web page where you can access all kinds of information. Click “Am I Registration Ready?,” and the following information will show up.

My registration time for this spring term

2. Decide which classes to take—The choices are abundant in a liberal arts education!

After preparation, the next and probably the most significant step is to decide which classes to take. All the proposed courses for the next academic year are listed here. To see the pre-requisites and description of the course, you can return to the Hub and click the “ENROLL course search” option. You can easily bookmark the courses that you’re interested in and keep track of the remaining spots in the classes as the registration takes place.

The Hub
The ENROLL Course Search, where you can use filters to browse the course catalog.

Here are some of the things to consider when selecting the courses. What are you interested in? Is there anything you’ve never tried before and would like to explore in college? What is the workload of the class? Is your schedule balanced? Some people may also worry about meeting the liberal arts requirements, but I personally think there’s no need to worry about it in your freshman year—the liberal arts education is for you to make mistakes and open up to new possibilities. After selecting several potential classes, you may want to use Coursicle to visualize your schedule. This is going to be a long thought process, but it will pay off.

3. Schedule an advising meeting with your academic advisor—Get some advice and support.

As a new student, you will be notified of who your academic advisor is by the end of the summer break. Academic advisors are very nice and cool professors from whom you’ll seek guidance in the first two years of college. (During the third and fourth year, you will switch to a major advisor.) You are required to discuss your course selections with your advisor during the Advising Days each term except for the fall term in freshman year. You can talk about your expectations and worries, and your advisor will give you helpful advice. After that, you need to confirm that you attended an advising meeting on the Hub before you have permission to register for classes. Everything is ready now.

4. Register for classes—Speed matters sometimes!

After a long period of preparation, it’s finally the time for registration! There are many ways to register for classes. For example, the traditional registration asks you to search the subject, the course level, and the course number to enroll in the class. Alternatively, you may use express registration to have a list ready before registering. When it’s your time to register, you can simply click “register” for all the courses in the list, which saves you much time and increases the likelihood of getting into some popular courses.

The registration page
Express registration

5. Waitlist—You still have the chance!

Some classes get filled up very fast, and you might end up on the waitlist. As a freshman or sophomore, this is very common. Don’t panic! As the term starts, there will be many students moving around, so it’s not that hard to get off the waitlist based on my experience. It might also be helpful to reach out to the professor and express your interest in joining the class. Typically, they will welcome you to the first class. Remember to check your order on the waitlist regularly and plan accordingly. If the spot is available, you will receive an email from the Registrar’s Office and you can claim your seat in the Hub.

The classes I waitlisted for

You’re all set with the course registration! The entire process may seem a bit overwhelming at first, and the first time is always the hardest. But you will definitely master it over time. There are other details that I didn’t touch upon, so feel free to ask me or any Carls about the process. Hope the whole registration process is less confusing now!

Sherry is a first-year student from Hangzhou, China, and holds a real passion for travel and food. She is thinking about majoring in Mathematics, but would also like to explore more in Economics, Computer Science, English, and French. Things she likes to do in her free time include hanging out with friends, taking photos, writing random stuff, and finding the funny in everyday life. She also got started with alpine skiing and is always ready for the trip to Welch Village every Friday! Meet the other bloggers!