Beat Banner: quick tips for registration

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November 3, 2009

1:41 AM

Starting Monday morning, College of William and Mary students will be nervously sitting at their computers, watching the clock for the exact moment when it strikes 8:30 a.m. and the entire Banner network slows to a crawl as hundreds of people log in at the exact same second. Most people hate registration with a passion, and understandably so; those five minutes after it starts can determine what you do for the next four months of your life. Struggling with Banner, not getting the classes you want, and figuring out how many credits you need in order to graduate on time can be more stressful than midterms. Below are a few tips to smooth the process.

*Don’t forget your registration number.* This should go without saying, but if you are an underclassman and you need a PIN number to register, make sure you have a meeting with your advisor before registration starts. You do not want to be the one calling your Orientation Aide sobbing about how they lied when they said college was awesome because you missed out on the last spot in Boccaccio’s Decameron.

*Take that history class.* Registration is supposed to get easier every semester. In most history classes, however, more seats open up as registration progresses. So remember, freshmen — if there is a history class that interests you, don’t wait until your senior year to take it.

*Banner stalk.* This can be a useful skill for the weeks after registration and during Add/Drop. Check Banner before, during and after every class because you never know when someone will drop and a spot will open up. It is also a good idea to be aware of developing an obession.

*Know your social class.* If your social class differs from your academic class, you can get into some trouble when registering. If spots are only available for juniors and you are a social junior and an academic senior, Banner will see you as both and not allow you to register. The only way around this is to e-mail the professor and explain why you can’t just be normal and take a regular class load.

*Get on the waitlist.* A waitlist can be a way in for an underclassman looking to get into a major-required class. If you have tried to get into Computer Science Analysis of Sim Models for the past two semesters and failed, e-mail the professor before registration and tell them you will attempt to register with your social class again, but you have had difficulties in the past. But, if you try your luck during registration and find that karma’s paying you back for that time you drunkenly ate a hot dog in Wawa and walked out without paying, take two minutes to shoot that professor an e-mail. Get on the waitlist early enough, and when a spot frees up you will hopefully get an invitation to register next semester.

*Add/Drop.* This is probably the most crucial part of registration even though it occurs next semester. Professors of popular classes will often only allow registration with instructor approval. Many professors will only give this out if you need the class for your major, graduation requirement, or if you had previously e-mailed to get on the waitlist. If neither of these applies to you, then attend the first class and be that annoying person who answers every question to show how interested and dedicated you are to the subject matter in hopes that the professor will let you register.

*Choose alternatives.* Make a dream class schedule, but also include second choices — and third, and fourth — just in case. If you are neither an upperclassman nor guaranteed a spot due to major requirements, getting into your top-choice classes will be difficult. Make alternative choices that you will enjoy or that at least fulfill GER requirements; this way you are at least making progress toward graduating with second-choice classes – or third, or fourth. Another strategy is to look for classes at different times than the classes you want. This way, if you are lucky enough to snag an override you will not have to drop one of the classes you wanted to take.

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