When I was in your place, exactly one year ago, I thought I was special. I thought that I was the certain exception to all of the nervous buzz and stress about registration. I was sure that it was going to be a breeze, and I was going to get all of the classes I wanted without any trouble whatsoever. I remember smiling smugly to myself as I color coded my new schedule, looking up my professors’ reviews, and chattering excitedly with my roommate about my awesome course list for the semester.
Fast forward to seven in the morning the next day, and I was shrieking in frustration, calling out to every god in existence for a miracle, suffering the end of the world alone and panicking in my twin XL bed. What I’m trying to tell you is that while you are not special (I’m sorry, don’t shoot the messenger), you can make your life a little easier.
The first place you want to start is the Open Course list, which you can find at courselist.wm.edu/courselist. You’ll want to select the Fall 2015 term and the open status. Then you can search for courses based on their attribute (the GER or course type), level and/or subject. Whatever you’re looking for, I’ve found that this outlet is the easiest to maneuver and understand.
Also, please trust me when I say that you are going to want to pick several classes that could fit your schedule. Whether it be according to times or subjects, you are going to want many options for when the inevitable occurs and your first choice gets filled. It sounds time consuming and obnoxious, which it is, but you will thank yourself when you have a backup plan that doesn’t include you ending up in a random freshman seminar like Caribbean Literature (that’s an article for another time).
Another helpful site for finding courses with more detailed entries is on Banner. If you log into your Banner account, go to the Student tab, then the Registration tab, and then Class Schedule, you can do a more thorough search for courses. And once you find something that piques your interest, you can “view the catalog entry” to find out who teaches the course, where it meets, and other useful information.
When you finally get all of your class research organized, playing with different schedule options is always a good idea. You never know what classes will fill up faster than others, so creating a few different choices can diminish the possibility of a living nightmare. Banner never allows you to enlist in courses that have overlapping times, even if you just want a placeholder in one course. It’s a hellish game of enlisting in one class and removing another to make sure everything lines up correctly, but you end up figuring it out in the end.
I never paid much attention to the professors teaching the courses while I was choosing, but a lot of people really value a respected professor over someone with a less than favorable reputation. One way to check that out is to visit ratemyprofessor.com and look up the professor teaching the course for honest reviews by previous students. They even have a hotness scale which was of more interest to me than anything else. Whether this is something you want to pay attention to is completely up to you, but know that it is not mandatory if you are running short on time.
After you have everything properly researched and formulated and you have met with your advisor, the dreaded day comes where you have to wake up before the early bird and participate in an academic Hunger Games. It’s stressful and fast, but it’s over in about 2-3 minutes, like a roller coaster of death. Banner is not very reliable and is notorious for crashing, so if that happens to you, take a deep breath, scream into your pillow, and wait. Just take comfort in the fact that someone is suffering the same pain as you somewhere across campus (you may be able to hear their cries), and calmly keep trying to register. If you don’t get the classes you want, you can always e-mail the professor for an override request or show up for the first day of class to show that you’re really dedicated to getting in.
And if you are lucky enough to get every single one of your first choices, please for the love of God, do not say a word, for your own personal safety. Good luck and happy hunting. You can do this.
Email Lexi Godfrey at email@example.com.