Course Registration for Dummies

Isabella Ledet, Staff Writer

It is the time of year once again when leaves fall off of the trees, everyone switches from iced coffee to hot coffee, and course registration for the spring semester begins. Spring feels so far away, yet we are forced to think about the future.

I will remind everyone that these tips I am about to give stem from my opinion (which should not be surprising, given the section in which this appears) and may not be the objective best way to handle course registration. My inputs have come from my own experiences.

Topic #1: Schedule Building. Separate from the actual spot to enroll in classes, there exists a portal called Nova Schedule Builder, which has all of the most important Course Registration information: the times the classes meet and who teaches them. I love this portal. It allows one to build their schedule in blocks that make sense and with fun colors to keep track of everything. Nova Schedule Builder even allows one to save their favorite schedules and reload them later. It gives one the freedom to see exactly what options are out there. However, my recommendation is to not get attached to any schedule made in Nova Schedule Builder, especially if one has a late registration time. Pay attention to the courses selected as other people begin to register, and be sure to have multiple backup schedules.

Topic #2: Full Classes. It is not the end of the world if the best section gets full. Register for the next best one and then work some magic later if possible. Villanova wants to help. If there are significant problems with a schedule, talk to advisors and department staff. Sometimes the issues can be sorted out. Second, be patient. Once registration occurs, there is still a lot of time before classes begin. Keep checking the portal to see if a seat opens in a full class. Oftentimes it does, and that can change everything. My schedule for this fall semester was completely different when I registered last spring, but I was patient and kept checking to see if any seats opened in classes I wanted to take. Sure enough, a few weeks before classes actually began, I discovered that a seat had opened up in a full class, and I was able to switch into it.

Topic #3: Rate My Professor. Rate My Professor feels like something that should be helpful. However, take it with a grain of salt. What I have found is that professors with great reviews are likely to be great. However, professors with bad reviews are not necessarily bad. . Last spring, I took a class with a professor who had bad reviews, and it turned out to be great. So, for this fall semester, I thought to myself: “oh, these bad reviews mean nothing. I will just make a schedule based on what times I want to have class regardless of the professors’ reviews.” While this gave me a great schedule in terms of class times, I ended up with a professor with bad reviews who was actually bad. Once I had registered, all of my friends agreed with the negative opinions expressed for this particular professor. 

So, I have come to the conclusion that the best way to gauge the quality of a professor is by word of mouth. I strongly urge anyone reading this to ask their friends or peers, especially older ones, who they recommend for professors. Not only might they have had experiences with the professor themselves, but they may know others that have. I think it is unfortunate that professors who are incapable of teaching get to retain their positions as teachers. But I do not know a single person who got through their entire college experience without having at least one, if not many, bad professors. Luckily, Villanova has a lot of resources for academic help. The Learners Studio, Writing Center and Learning Support Services are just some of the many resources the University offers for academic assistance. I cannot stress this enough: there is no shame in asking for help. And if one feels like they are struggling in a class, especially because of a subpar professor, there are certainly others who feel the same way. Therefore, do not be afraid to get to know the people in class. They can at least be reassuring if not resources and friends.

Course registration can often feel stressful. It certainly has been for me. But it is not the end of the world if it does not go exactly as planned. At the end of the day, it’s just a schedule, and the longest it can possibly last is one semester. So, good luck, stay calm and remember that there are many resources available for help.