Registration time is here again – the Registrar’s Office is busier than usual, academic advisers are on call for advice and students have their heads buried in course catalogs. It’s time to decide what classes you’re going to take next semester.
While registration is not the most fun thing to do, it’s unavoidable.
It takes students barely a few minutes to register themselves for classes, but there are certain things everyone should keep in mind to make sure those few minutes are smooth sailing.
The most important: don’t be clueless about your registration appointment.
Apart from heeding the famous “register early” rant, there are other things everyone should consider adding to their to-do lists as registration draws near.
Talk to your academic adviser well in advance and plan your courses. Even if you’re not entirely certain of your professional path, try chalking out some form of a road map. Give yourself an idea of what courses you’ll be taking and decide when would be the best time to take them.
“Students have usually needed most guidance when they’re trying to do something outside the norm,” says Dr. Randy Weinstein, chairperson of the chemical engineering department. “For instance, if you’re trying to study abroad, plan ahead because you need to make sure you have enough time to complete the requirements for your particular degree.”
“Do your research,” senior Padma Vemuri says. “Take some effort. Don’t sign up for classes haphazardly and think you’ll deal with it later because dropping out of a class is another hassle you don’t want to get yourself into.”
The obvious resource that students turn to is the Villanova University Course Catalog. Familiarize yourself with the catalog, as well as the master schedule on NOVASIS.
“Students sometimes find that they can’t get into the class they want to, and they’re oblivious as to why,” says Pamela Braxton, associate registrar for Student Enrollment. “Please read the master schedule, and check for course prerequisites and restrictions.”
Once you have your course list, it’s all about finding that perfect professor. The faculty CATS reports are a valuable resource that students usually tap into. But the more popular option is NovaTeachers.com. It definitely can be a good way to filter your choice of professors, but use your discretion.
“NovaTeachers.com can be misleading,” Vemuri says. “I stopped using it after sophomore year.”
Another option is talking to upperclassmen who have already taken the classes you’re planning on taking.
An unconventional thing to do is actually go talk to the professor. “Go meet them,” Weinstein says. “Ask them how they orchestrate their class. Do they have projects? Quizzes? Get more details. Even though the course may be a generic one, the emphasis might be different.”
To ensure that nothing keeps you from registering at your appointed time, check NOVASIS ahead of time to make sure you have no holds on your account. Also, make sure you have your PIN number.
While infrequent, there always is a chance of students encountering technical problems with the system.
“There shouldn’t be more problems than the normal delays,” Braxton says. “All appointments are in the evening when the traffic on the system is low. Moreover, we have built-in safeties in case the system does go down. If students have issues, they should call UNIT or call us.”
If you’re considering switching colleges, make sure you talk to an adviser in the new college as soon as you can. Find out what courses you can transfer and plan out your curriculum.
“Don’t be intimidated at all,” says freshman Jimmy Kane, who recently transferred from the College of Engineering to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “There are people to guide you. I found the whole process of transferring to be very prompt. You need to know who to talk to.”
Finally, if you end up not getting into the classes you wanted, don’t let it get to you.
“We always tell students, you may not get the desired faculty or time,” Braxton says. “There’s no guarantee. But you should get what you need.”
There still are chances that you could get into your desired class if you know what to do.
“Send the course instructor an e-mail,” Weinstein says. “As long as we can fit students in, we most definitely will. The chemical engineering deptartment even added a whole new section to one class because there was a large number of students interested.”
Another thing to do is use your add/drop week effectively. If you aren’t satisfied with the section you chose, attend a couple of the others and look for openings.
“Don’t get disheartened if you don’t get into the class you want to,” Vemuri says. “There are a lot of good professors at Villanova. You’ll get a fair taste of it all.”
Overall, registration is a major undertaking for both students and administrators.
“Right now, we’re working with the academic departments to get the courses set up for registration,” Braxton says. “We’re still in the midst of preparing. Everyone here is on their toes, setting up courses and making sure major declarations are up to date … Let’s just keep our fingers crossed, and hope that everything jives.”