UVM BORED 101: Course Registration

Using a Computer in the Dark
Photo Credit: ApartmentTherapy.com

I wake up in a cold sweat. It’s 8:00 am, an hour after I was supposed to be registering for classes. After whipping open my laptop, refreshing the Registrar page, and typing in the prepared course codes, I see that only one class still has spots available… my life is ultimately over.

*record scratch* I bet you’re wondering how I ended up here?

I spent all night putting together the perfect schedule for the following semester. Everything was lined up beautifully and I even managed to get some classes together with my friends. I thought that everything would be okay…I thought wrong. Here’s your guide on how to avoid my mistakes.


Step1: When Do You Register?

First thing is first – figure out WHEN you’re registering.  You and UVM have a date, though it probably won’t be very romantic. First years register on a different day than Sophomores, who register on a different day than juniors, and so on – so it’s important to know what day you need to set an alarm for.  The Registrar’s office handles the course registration process and they’ve got a handy-dandy schedule with a list of class years (based off the amount of credits you’ve accumulated) for every semester this year.   


Step 2: Find Your Graduation Guide

Second thing on your to do list: what classes do you need to take? There are tons of resources on-campus to help you navigate the process – regardless of your year. You can take a peek a the schedule of courses…but you might soon find yourself awash in WAY too many options.  First step to narrowing it down is to check your degree audit and look at your major and school’s requirements. If you need some 1:1 help, the Advising Center hosts coffee and course registration drop-ins the week before and week of course registration – giving you a spot to sit and chat with peer advisors who’ve already navigated the process and can help you plan it out with no fuss.  

If you’re looking for a little more planning guidance – the Career Center can also help you plan out your Four Year Plan. Having this as a guide will definitely help you visualize your four years at UVM. Make a night of it. Plan out each semester for your time at UVM and see if any classes can be taken as summer courses or if you have enough time to study abroad.  Possibilities (and types of courses) are endless, but knowing your options will make it feel immensely less daunting.


Step 3: Pick Classes and Backups in Advanced

Luckily, even with my nightmare-ish course registration experience,  I had done my research and found backup options in case I wasn’t able to secure my first round picks. This is my second piece of advice to you: write down as many options as possible. It may put your entire schedule out of whack, but a new lineup may be your best bet.

Most classes have multiple time slots and at least one is bound to have a spot for you. Focus on getting into the important classes and work your electives around them. Writing down all the class times and codes will spare you the stress of looking them up on the spot. I don’t know about you but I’m usually pretty groggy at 7:00 a.m so having a physical paper in front of me with the codes is a life saver.


Step 4: Meet With Your Adviser

This part is so necessary and so not scary. Meeting with your academic advisor can take away a lot of the anxiety that comes with registering for classes. They could be advising you from being a confused freshman until you’re a confused almost-graduate, so get comfortable with them. A meeting with an advisor can help you settle on an academic plan and inform you on what options you have available, definitely take advantage of this valuable information. These advisors can get rid of holds on accounts that will keep you from registering for classes…which is kind of *really* necessary as well, more on this later.


 Step 5: Check and Clear Registration Holds

Wow! Speak of the devil. DEFINITELY make sure that all holds on your account are cleared before registration day. These holds can occur due to lack of fee payments but in some cases it’s just be because you just haven’t visited your advisor yet. Making sure you don’t have any holds on your accounts and getting them cleared if you do before registration will prevent a whole lot of confusion and commotion the day of registration


Step 6: Register Immediately

One thing to know, is that for every registration for all four of your years at UVM, is to never assume that you will wake up naturally with a strong internet connection and all the luck in the world. Murphy’s Law is real. Give yourself time for everything and anything to go wrong. I usually try to wake up around 6:30 am (yes… AM) and make sure that all my ducks are in a row: I have my list of top choice classes, back-ups for each one, all of their CRNs (course registration numbers),  a well charged laptop, and a strong internet connection (how fast does this video load?). It’s smart to keep the course catalogue available just in case every alternative you have is full. I usually write in every class code before registration opens and click submit as soon as registration opens at 7:00 a.m.


Step 7: Keep Calm and Register On

Last but not least, DON’T stress out. If things don’t work out there are always other options. Students often choose to drop the class you want before the time next semester begins. Try to look at the silver lining – not being able to get into a class may give you a chance to try something new! When I couldn’t get into my preferred class last semester I took a brewing class (NFS033 What’s Brewing in Food Science) and it was one of the coolest courses I’ve ever taken.


But…If All Else Fails

If all else fails, professors and advisors are usually willing to help. If you know that you need a class, but it got booked up before you were even able to press submit, email the professor, explain your situation and ask for an override.  More often than not, the professor will grant you an override into their class simply out of the kindness of their own heart (your advisor can help with this too); or at the very least will keep you on a waiting list. Keep in mind, professors and advisors also have a ton of stuff to do so they might not answer immediately. Course registration season is stressful for everyone – so make sure you plan ahead so you’re not scrambling the morning of!

With any luck, what could be a stressful morning of franticly pasting CRNs could be a breeze – allowing you to enjoy the rest of your day, looking forward to the awesome semester ahead of you.  If we missed a pro-tip that helped you prep for course registration, give us a shout in the comments below.

Happy course hunting!