Dealing with the Registration Blues
Registration is an important process in planning your college career and it seems appropriate to talk about the "Registration Blues." College can be stressful enough, but trying to get that "perfect schedule" is even more stressful. There are several things you can do to make registration easier.
One of the first things to do is look at the catalog. Catalog? What's that? Many students have no idea what the catalog is, let alone what is in it. The WSC General and Graduate Catalog is a wealth of information. It covers everything from general information to achieving your master's degree! In particular, it covers all the major, minor, and endorsement programs and their requirements offered at WSC. All the classes you need for the degree you are seeking are there, with descriptions of the classes and prerequisites. It also covers the general education requirements, how to compute your GPA, and requirements for graduation. These are all things that can help you when it comes to the registration process.
Now that you are familiar with the catalog, the next step is to become familiar with the class schedule. It also contains a veritable fountain of information. It not only shows the course numbering of classes being offered in a particular semester, but also the time and date of finals for these classes. Enclosed in the schedule is a semester calendar with all the important dates noted. Other important information noted in the schedule includes: fee payment schedule; registration schedule; last day to withdraw from a class; when to make class schedule changes; and when classes begin. After reviewing your class schedule, you move on to the pre-registration phase. WSC is no loger printing schedules for the masses, but there are a few printed ones available you can look at. Ask your advisor if he/she has one. Information about class schedules are available through the Records and Registration Department.
The first step of pre-registration is to contact your advisor. "But I don't know who my advisor is!" Every student at Wayne State College has an advisor. If you do not know who your advisor is, you can find out from one of these places: Counseling Center; Academic School's Office (if you have a declared major); or the Registrar's Office. You can also find out who your advisor is by going to the Wildcat's Online system and logging in - your advisor will be listed in your student database. If your advisor does not contact you about setting an advising appointment for pre-registration, take the initiative and contact your advisor. Sit down with him or her and work out a schedule that will work for you. By this time you are familiar with the catalog and the schedule so you are coming to this session prepared with a tentative schedule. You already have the classes chosen that you need, and a time schedule that is satisfactory. Your advisor can double check your choices and make sure that you are on track.
This is the time to visit with your advisor. Tell him or her about your life and career plans and your academic goals. If you are undecided, talk about your interest areas and let your advisor help you to learn more about making decisions so you can make a decision. If you have already made a decision and are in a declared major, now is the time to learn more about it. Like the time frame for the program, class rotations that might be a problem, or which classes to take first to better prepare you for other classes. If you have any questions concerning specific or general requirements that arose when you were going through the catalog, your advisor can help to clarify them at this time. One of the most often asked questions is "Why do I need all these general education classes?"
The goals of the general education classes are varied. They teach you to communicate effectively in written and oral forms. They help to describe your role in the national and global society and show you how that role is shaped by various cultures, influences, and lifestyles. They help you learn how to reason logically, think critically, and manage and interpret data. They help you to develop the skills necessary to make and defend informed decisions on a variety of topics. Perhaps one of the most important duties of the general education requirements is to help you learn how to use a variety of resources, including current technology, to gain knowledge. Once you have the ability to use these resources, learning becomes a lifelong process. Added to the major/minor you decide on, these classes give you a solid education from which to build your career. So, even though you may not like the idea of general education courses, they are important.
This next bit of advice is not usually received well, but it is important. Even though you have the perfect schedule, you need to make one, or two, separate schedules. And not just the same classes at different times. Choose different classes and time schedules. That way it is less frustrating when you during your assigned registration period and see that three out of five of your classes are closed. If that happens, it is probably easier to replace the first choice with one of the back-up schedules than it is to try and find classes to fit the first schedule. Your advisor is a good source for these alternative schedules and will be glad to help you.
The last item in making registration easier and less stressful is to make sure you are in good standing with the Business Office and Student Health. Incomplete immunization records, parking tickets, unpaid bills, library fines, etc., can hold you from registering and be a hassle. There is "Holds" information on the Wildcats Online System, which shows you any registration and/or transcript holds you may currently have, and what office has initiated the hold. You can then contact that office for specifics. If you do have problems or fines, and you procrastinate too long, you risk having your carefully chosen, perfectly scheduled classes being filled before you can register. Being proactive and taking care of business before it becomes a problem will keep you on track.
The WSC Advising Center has an "Advisement Preparation Check-List" available that covers the topics in this article. On the back it also has forms for tentative schedules. Stop by and pick one up. The better prepared you are, the less frustrating the registration process is going to be for you.