Advantageous resources and advice minimize stress caused by College course selection system

There are two types of people in the world — those who plan ahead and those who go with the flow. I am the former; I am an obsessive planner. Everything I do, I probably have been thinking about a very long time before it gets executed.

Obviously, class schedules fall under the list of things I’m compulsively obsessing about, and I’ve reached one conclusion: I hate every possible little thing related to the College of William and Mary’s class registration system. 

Because I’m aiming to mitigate the mental anguish related to this time-honored tradition of pure torture, I’m going to give you all a few tips — even though your success could very much translate into my misfortune, should you get into the classes I’m interested in taking.  

Pick early: the most up-to-date spring 2020 schedule has been online for a few weeks now. Have you looked at it? Go through all the subjects you could possibly even be remotely interested in, copy and paste them into an excel spreadsheet and rank all your classes in order. The reality is, very few people will get into every single class that’s on their shopping list, so you are going to have to prioritize a few classes that you want to get into first. Need a class that only has one section? That could probably go higher on your list than, for example, HISP 101, which has several sections.  

Throw away your pride: did Banner crash when you clicked submit on all your classes? Yeah, it happens. Luckily, “closed section” might not always mean it’s closed for real. Send a very courteous and professional email to your professor including your 930 number, and they very well might consider giving you an override to enter the class anyway. Bonus points if you’ve had them before or you are passionate enough about a subject to write a nerdy email.  

Consult: don’t really know what’s going on? Do you just want to cruise through course selection? Undecided major? Luckily there are resources for you. My pre-major advisor was extremely helpful for me in my time of need as a freshman.

When I arrived at the College, I had no idea what to expect from classes here, nor did I really know what I wanted. Naturally, he guided me towards my passions in business, Hispanic studies and Francophone studies. Without this guiding light, I probably would’ve defaulted to something like economics — which I enjoyed but lacked a passion for — without a second thought, and have been miserable.  

Likewise, RateMyProfessor and word of mouth are two things whose power to influence should never be underestimated. There are great, amazing and charismatic professors … and then there are professors who aren’t.

Some professors might prefer one teaching style more conducive to your learning and others might just lecture at you for 80 minutes. Really, you should gather all this information before registration and decide who might be the best fit.

Personally, I’m dreading registration day, and I will likely second guess my choices until the very end of the add/drop period.

However, I hope that this advice might help you to make educated choices and to get the perfect schedule for you.

Email Gavin Aquin-Hernández at


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