It is that time of year again.
That stressful, nerve-racking, why-is-this-the-struggle time of year that Mercer students call registration is quickly approaching. With registration beginning for honors students and athletes next week, most students are reminded of the horrors of this time of year. It starts with the email containing the date and time when you are allowed to begin registering for classes for the next semester. Usually, that is when it starts to get hard to breath from the stress.
Following the link to the class schedule for the next semester, the hyperventilation accelerates. Problems of all sorts arise when it comes to your classes, class times, the professors, and the class locations.
Then, your stomach plummets as you open the handbook to look at the classes that you have to take. When is this class offered? How many hours is it? When am I supposed to take it?
Registration can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first time or you just do not know what you are doing. However, once you know how registration works, everything is bound to go smoothly. To help you get to this state of calm instead of calamity, here are a few tips.
Be prepared. This tip is more than just a song from The Lion King. Scar needed to plan ahead before he took over Pride Rock. With registration, you have to have a plan, or, in this case, you need a four-year-plan. Your four-year-plan allows you to plan your schedule for the next four years based off the classes that you need and the ones that you want. The best part about it is that you have everything you need at the palm of your hand. Now, you do not have to go looking in the handbook for the classes you need. They are all there for you. Plus, the four-year-plan comes in many shapes and sizes. If you do not already have one, ask your academic or major advisor for one before you meet with them for your appointment. Or, go to theMercer University’s Macon Registrar’s website to print off a trial schedule worksheet for each semester. Or, simply go onto Excel and craft one yourself. The possibilities are endless. You just need to choose one to follow through with.
My next tip is to plan for change. What makes registration the hardest is how frequently things change. The course schedule updates at least once week, certain classes fill up faster than others, and you realize that that one class might not be worth the fight. It’s okay. Change during registration can only be expected. Welcome it, and prepare for it. When you are making your schedule, make a back-up schedule in case you do not get into a class. Then, make another in case you do not get into any of the classes that you want. This technique is especially important for freshman and sophomores considering they are some of the last to register and they have the most competition when it comes down to getting into the classes they want. Be flexible with registration so that when the hits come, you can dodge them and recover quickly.
Learn the secrets of the trade. Freshman, beware. There are over eight hundred of you guys. So, the classes that you guys need — the WRTs, GBKs, and general education courses — are going to fill up quickly. Not to mention, there are sophomores, juniors, and seniors who might need to take some of those courses. So, plan accordingly. It is okay to not have your Gen-Eds incomplete until well beyond your freshman year. In fact, that can only be expected. Just focus on the courses you need to take like your WRTs and GBKs as well as anyone of the classes for your future major and minor that might not be offered until way later or never again during your college career. Focus on what you need, instead of what you want. It is better to have a schedule full of requirements that you need, rather than one full of classes that are not necessary that you simply want to take.
But, watch those credit hours. It takes at least twelve hours to maintain university scholarships, but it is better in the long run to take at least fifteen credit hours each semester. This way, if you drop a class, you still maintain your scholarship. Plus, you get more bang for your college-buck. If you want to make the most out of your college career though, I would recommend taking eighteen credit hours. Be mindful though that taking nineteen or more credit hours means that you are going to have to pay for each credit hour you are taking beyond the allotted eighteen. So, be careful.
Another secret of the trade is more for the day of registration. It is no secret that Mercer University does not have the best Wi-Fi, and with hundreds of kids on the same site at the same time trying to do the same thing, things are not going to get any better. To get the most out of Mercer University’s Wi-Fi during registration, get an ethernet cord to have direct access to the campus’s internet. If you have your own source of internet, it would be best to use that to get online. You can also leave campus for better Wi-Fi. Or, if you just do not have a car or money for these options, find a place on Mercer University’s campus with the strongest Wi-Fi connection. The better the internet, the easier and faster registration will go.
Also, on the day of registration, do not forget to be prepared. Have your four-year-plan in front of you. Make a numbered list of what to register for first and last based on your competition for it. Have your back-up schedules ready. One to two hours prior to registration, log onto MyMercer, go to the registration page, and just keep refreshing it. Doing this will keep you one step ahead of the tide of students who will end up wasting time logging in while you are already signing up for classes.
One of my most important tips is to stay calm! Registration is stressful. But, it’s going to be okay. The worst thing that can happen to you during registration is that you get waitlisted, and that is not nearly as bad as it sounds. If it is a class that you need, the professor will work with you. If it is a class that you need but can take later, drop it and find another class to fill that hole in your schedule. The point is that registration is really nothing to stress over. Everything will work its self out in the end and it will turn out fine.
Finally, celebrate! When it is all said and done, you have gone over your schedule, and you can live with it, go out to breakfast or dinner — depending on when you registered — to celebrate. You have survived registration. That is as good an excuse as any to go congratulate yourself.
Registration can be very difficult, but there are ton of resources out there to help you succeed. TRIO Programs and Minority Affairs, Women in Math and Science, UNV classes, and other organizations are offering registration workshops to answer questions and to go through the process. Register offers a telephone helpline during registration as well as theirwebsite filled with helpful tips. Plus, your advisors, preceptors, peer advisors, professors, and your friends are always there to help you. Registration can be daunting but that does not make it impossible. You will survive, I promise.