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Course Registration Tips

By M.J. Joachim,
Staff Writer

Choosing the right balance of courses can dramatically effect your college experience

Registering for college courses can be a relatively streamlined process for students, if they take care of important details early. Students need to be organized, gathering information and documentation prior to registration. Outlining goals and adhering to requirements make registering for college courses less complicated and more efficient.

1. Apply for admission and become a student. Each college has an enrollment system in place to activate their students. In order to take courses, students often must be active members of the student body. Visit the college of your choice in person or online; follow the steps listed to activate your status as part of the student body.

2. Take standard placement tests early, so scores will be recognized before it's time for registration. Tests like the SAT, ACT and other college entrance exams are offered periodically. The scores of college entrance tests determine what courses students are qualified to take. Be aware of testing requirements and expiration dates. Some tests scores become invalid after a period of time, and need to be retaken.

3. Become familiar with the course catalog, which will be relied on heavily throughout your college career. The course catalog contains vital information about all courses offered. It gives detailed course descriptions, lists prerequisite information, instructors, and other appropriate information to help students outline which courses will meet their overall objectives.

4. Understand the registration process, downloading all necessary information and having all documents, identification, and proof of residency paperwork readily available. Plan ahead, allowing time to receive official transcripts and other documentation, to avoid delays in the registration process.

5. Formalize student loans, scholarships, and other financial aid prior to registration. Have necessary documentation available, to avoid financial discrepancies and concerns during the registration process.

6. Register online, by fax or via telephone. Many colleges make it easy to register for classes by providing multiple systems to do so. Complete the process by reading and responding to all requirements. Keep records of your registration, printing out documents and writing down confirmation numbers.

7. Know your status as a student. Prior to registration, meet with faculty advisers or counselors to organize your paperwork, so that you can easily register for your classes. Faculty advisers help minimize delays in registration by clearly outlining the steps you need to follow, making it easy for you to sign up for classes in the most efficient manner.

8. Do background research on courses and instructors prior to registering. This includes getting different perspectives from other students, faculty and staff about the instructor's teaching style, course requirements and other details, to help determine if you should sign up for this or another course to meet your objective requirements.

9. Participate in early registration. Early registration gives students the best opportunity to enroll in the classes they need before those classes are full and unavailable. If some classes are unavailable, determine your alternative options beforehand. You may be able to take certain courses online through a distance learning program, or use a different course to meet more than one objective.

10. Plan ahead to avoid scheduling conflicts. Create a diagram to help determine how much time you will need for class attendance, in-depth assignments, group projects, and your personal and work life. Include important deadlines in your planning such as payment dates, add/drop registration calendars, and other pertinent information to avoid unexpected fees and charges.

College course registration can be streamlined by understanding the process and meeting defined criteria beforehand. Plan ahead and take care of time-consuming details early. Be prepared, so that you can participate in the process quickly and easily.

Last edited: October 31, 2011, 6:56 pm EST
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