How to survive course registration and avoid schedule disasters

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Before students head to classes across campus in the fall, they need to be prepared for course registration at Colonial Inauguration.

Class registration can be overwhelming, and even with a carefully planned out schedule in hand, you can hit roadblocks.

When you register for classes during Colonial Inauguration, it’s a panicky affair with students nervously clenching their written list of classes before settling in front of a computer. But before you get too stressed, know that schedule slip-ups happen to nearly everyone.

You can’t predict what classes will fill up before your eyes on registration day, but there are steps you can take to lessen the damage of a derailed plan.

Here are some tips to prepare ahead of time and deal if you don’t get the coveted course you – and everyone else, apparently – wanted:

Have CRNs ready to go

One of the biggest stresses of course registration is the program. The screen on Banweb takes time to buffer once it opens because of the site’s massive congestion. Once it finally opens, there are just a few small boxes across the screen and a submit button. Course registration numbers, found on the schedule of classes, are what you need to fill in to register for courses, and having them ready to go can save you from an undesirable schedule.

Before the website opens for registration, type out the first CRN you need so you can quickly copy and paste the number and lessen your chances of disappointment. If you can’t live without one specific class, forget your chances with the others and enter that CRN number first, knowing that it will increase the likelihood of grabbing the class before others. Select one or two if it makes you feel better, before quickly inputting the rest.

Arrive armed with back-ups

No matter what happens, it is highly unlikely you’ll get every single course you wanted, which means you should have back-ups. Classes that fall around the same time, but might fulfill different requirements, are great ways to make quick work of your general education requirements. Create a document that contains your priority courses and CRNs, paired with at least two alternatives for each time slot, and you’re sure to secure a schedule that works for you.

Slide into an open spot

If a class you wanted to take filled up before you could snag a spot, check Banweb on a routine basis for a slot opening. It is common for students to switch around their schedules throughout the summer and during the first weeks of the semester. If you are religiously on the registrar’s website, you might be lucky enough to catch an open spot.

While it is nice to clear some freshman year jitters by finalizing your schedule prior to the first day of classes, you can still add a course until Sept. 9 and doing so is not the end of the world.

Lay out another plan

Not getting the classes you wanted is the perfect opportunity to explore a class that you overlooked at first glance and stretch out of your comfort zone. GW has more than 70 undergraduate majors across various subjects, so don’t be afraid to take a class that might be purely for fun.

If the class you were unable to register for is a general education or college general requirement, there are likely plenty of other courses that can fulfill the requisite.

Cry for help

If you’re still losing sleep over an unavailable class, email the professor teaching the course as a last ditch effort. Reaching out to a professor won’t always solve your dilemma, but it’s worth a shot. Enrollment caps on courses are often there for a reason, like a maximum capacity in a classroom, but if the professor instated the limit because of the dynamic of the class, they might let you squeeze in.

In the meantime, if the professor’s class has a waitlist, hop on it. While you’re not guaranteed a spot in the class, you are notified if a seat opens up.

Don’t beat yourself up

Your fingers can only copy and paste those CRN numbers so fast, and it’s not worth it to dwell on registration mishaps. Most students face these problems during their college careers, but registration is especially hard for freshmen. Some majors face strict enrollment caps on required introduction level courses leaving freshmen all racing to register for the same few spots. At the end of the day, you still have seven semesters ahead to take the course.

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