By senior year, pre-registration isn’t a worry on your radar. You have job applications to weed through and bodies you need to find, ones with which you can hopefully and consensually smash naughty bits together. More important things. But for the freshies out there, the process can seem a bit mystical, like a will-o’-the wisp beaming off on the distant edge of shimmering lake. Is that a proper analogy? Probably not, but I bet you’ve never even seen a will-o’-the-wisp and you’ve definitely never experienced a pre-registration in which being number 657 in the freshman class means you’re getting diddly squat, especially if you’re a bio major or a person. So. In times like these, I wish I had a guide my first year, but instead of remaining bitter, I figured I’d pass on some knowledge. Here are tips on how to make it through the pre-registration process without losing a limb or crying over your pre-major advisor’s tendency to be a bit neglectful when you need them most.
Reach out to your pre-major advisor early
The process lasts a whole two weeks, and in reality, it takes all of five minutes to figure out the classes you want to take. Still, even if you believe you got this whole college thing down by now, you absolutely don’t. And even if you want to major in economics and your pre-major advisor is from the Art History Department, odds are, they have a wealth of knowledge. And let’s face it—you don’t.
Make sure you stay hydrated
You might not think that pre-registration is a physical event, but dammit if you won’t break at least one major sweat. Tracking down your advisor sometimes requires running upstairs, pacing back and forth in front of their office until they open up and pretend to remember who you are, and passing out in a puddle of your own tears and/or urine when you don’t get the classes of your choosing.
Tattoo your PIN onto your bicep
Doesn’t have to be your bicep, but also why shouldn’t it be? A measly four digits might be easy to remember, but if you write it on a scrap of paper or enter it into your smartphone, you’re cheating yourself out of an opportunity to make memories. Once you reach the end of your senior year, you’ll boast an impressive seven tattoos that form a ring around your bicep. People (should) do this.
Prepare numerous back-up classes
Nothing blows harder than setting your hopes high for that really cool comics course in the English Department, only to drown on the bottom end of a waitlist longer than “The Faerie Queen.” Freshmen, it will happen. Print out the catalog, tape it to your wall and throw darts until it lands on a course. When the year ends, you and the roomie can remove the eye-sore together as one final act of bonding.
As the deadline draws closer, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and shuffle around your classes. But do stop before midnight strikes on the final day, or else you might royally fuck yourself over. If you put your most popular class option down as number three or four in your list because of negligence, you might as well pull up a seat to the pre-registration II dining room table. It’s like Thanksgiving there, if the platters were filled with sloppy seconds and cold leftovers no one wanted.
Draw Numbers Matter
If you find you are fourth in your entire class, especially if you are a senior, track down the first three and challenge them to a Hunger Games-style elimination. After all, even if you’re guaranteed all of your courses, it means more if you could be number one for once. Plus, it’s the only real way to win pre-registration.