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Registering for classes

It’s that time of the semester! Registration is upon us. It’s a time of excitement and a time of nerves–people tend to get excited about the semester to come but it’s also a little nerve-racking for those afraid that they won’t get into the classes they want. I registered last night without a hitch, and registration seems to have gone smoothly for most of the people I’ve talked to.

Registration can be overwhelming for many, no matter what college they go to. However, I have a few helpful hints to share that should make your registration process as painless as possible when it’s your time to register.

1. Know what requirements you need to fulfill. Here at McDaniel, we have a general education curriculum known as the McDaniel Plan. This plan consists of several different categories that can be fulfilled by various classes, and its goal is to make you a well-rounded student. You’ll also have to complete certain requirements for your majors and minors (and the Honors Program if you’re in it). Luckily, our registration software, which we call the Archway, has a program (the Program Evaluation) that can help you keep track of what requirements you’ve completed and which ones you still need to tackle. I’ve tried to strike a balance in what I take between classes for my major and minor and classes for the McDaniel Plan every semester. I think it’s important to chip away at the McDaniel Plan right away so that I can focus on my major classes in my later semesters of college, but I’ll continue to tackle the McDaniel Plan throughout my semesters here because I like to take at least one course outside of my major a semester to maintain that balance.

2. Plan ahead. This has a lot to do with knowing what you need to take. If you don’t decide what classes you’re going to take before registration opens (you have to wait until an assigned time before registration), chances are, you won’t get much of what you want or need because your classes will fill up. Luckily, advising helps this process quite a lot. Leading up to registration, students at McDaniel meet with their advisers to discuss what classes to take next semester. It’s really helpful if you’re not entirely sure what you want to take, but don’t go into the advising process without a plan either. Advising goes a lot more smoothly if you have some idea of what to take rather than no idea at all. Curious about McDaniel’s courses and requirements? Visit the course catalog! (Enrolled students can look at a particular semester’s classes on the Archway.)

3. Be open-minded. This one too goes along with knowing what requirements you need to fulfill. Because registration time slots are assigned based on seniority and the number of credits students have, people who are still toward the beginning of their college careers here at McDaniel don’t always get all of their first-choice classes. But fear not if you’re a freshman and you don’t get that class for your major! You still have the McDaniel Plan to complete and you’ll always be able to find classes that fulfill its requirements. While you may not get into your first choice class as a freshman, be open-minded and look for something else. You might end up taking something you never thought you’d take–and like it!

4. Know how the registration software works. Our registration system, known as the Archway is very useful but it isn’t always the most intuitive thing. Before registering for the first (and even second and third) time, it’s important to know to the registration program works so you can use it when it’s time for you to register. You can preselect your courses ahead of time and register for them once registration opens. Once you enroll at McDaniel, this process and other helpful registration hints will be sent to you in the form of online tutorials, so if you watch those, you shouldn’t have a lot of trouble figuring registration out. (And if you do have trouble, tell someone! People at McDaniel are very knowledgeable about the Archway and are willing to help you out!)

5. Register on time! Once registration opens up, it’s like releasing a bunch of horses to see which ones are the fastest when it comes to getting some classes. If you don’t register on time, you may not get all of your choices. Make it a part of your process of planning ahead by finding out when you are scheduled to register and planning your schedule so you’re not busy during your registration time. (Current students can find their registration date and time on the Archway under “Authorizations and Restrictions.”)

Bottom line, if you’re proactive about registration, it’s not that difficult. The time you take to plan ahead for registration doesn’t just affect what happens on registration day/night; it also affects entire semester to come and in turn, your college career. (On a related note, it’s also important to recognize that in a small college such as McDaniel, some classes are not offered every year, so you’ll need to plan for this too.)

But don’t fret it you don’t get to take that really important class the first time around. As you get older, registration gets easier. I promise. I absolutely promise. And in the meantime, McDaniel has plenty of cool and interesting classes for everyone to take, so expand your horizons and take something unexpected! Who knows? You might just find your new passion…

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