Choosing Classes: A Guide for Registration

Author: Sarah Holland

Sarah H Web Fun

For their first semester at Notre Dame, all first-year students get to avoid one of the most overwhelming mornings of each semester: registering for classes. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you plan ahead! Here are some helpful tips for preparing for spring registration day as a first-year student. 


Figure out what you need.

Each college has different core requirements. For example, the College of Arts and Letters has a language requirement, and the College of Science has a calculus requirement. By visiting your college’s website, you can plan ahead to make sure you have plenty of time to meet all of your requirements. Most requirements can be met with a variety of different courses, so you can find something that interests you!

Also, all majors and minors require certain courses. By visiting your major’s department website, you can see what you need to take. For most majors, taking the “core” courses in earlier semesters allow you to have the necessary prerequisites for electives, so you will have more flexibility to take what interests you in future semesters. 


Ask for help!

Still confused about what you need to take? All first-year students are assigned to a first-year advisor, and all upperclassmen are assigned to an Advising Dean. Schedule an appointment or visit during their walk-in hours. Your advisor can help you plan for the next semester, as well as future semesters, to ensure you are meeting all of your requirements. They are more than willing to help, and it’s great to build a good relationship with someone who is always there to help you!


Explore your interests.

Have space in your schedule after considering your requirements? Consider taking a class in a major or minor field that you are interested in pursuing. This is especially helpful if you are undecided about what you want to study.


Ask your friends.

Asking friends is a great way to find out what a class is really like! For example, if you need to take a history course next semester, ask friends about their opinions on history courses they’ve taken. Ask if they found lectures interesting, if the workload was manageable, and if the class was more papers or exams.


Prepare multiple schedules.

Many classes have spots reserved just for first-years! This means that even though upperclassmen register before you, the class will not fill up. Planning to take these classes will greatly increase your odds of getting the schedule you want. However, classes can still fill up, especially if they are not reserved for First-Years. Make sure you are prepared by looking at alternate options. There are usually many classes that meet each college requirement offered every semester, and many popular classes are offered at multiple times.


Registration isn’t over!

If you didn’t get all the classes you wanted during registration, there is still plenty of time to change your schedule! Many students add or drop classes, so there are more opportunities to get into courses that are full. You can contact a department to get on a waitlist for one of their courses to ensure you are the first to get an open spot. Also, you can always reach out to your advisor for help!

Best of luck to all first-years as they register for the first time!