Successful Strategies for Class Registration

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Published: November 16, 2022 by Kesheena Doctor

One of the most fraughtful times of a student’s academic life is registering for the next semester. You might not be sure of what classes to take, what the course load will be like, or if you’ll like the professor.

As an undergrad, I had a lot of difficulties scheduling classes to ensure I graduated on time. By my senior year, I finally figured things out, but it was not without a lot of hand wringing and consternation. For graduate school, I was much better prepared and am much more confident in my ability to complete my MLIS journey in two years as planned.

Deciding on a Career Pathway

If you are just starting iSchool or are in your first year, I recommend reviewing the Career Pathways if you haven’t decided on a career yet. If you are just starting grad school, note which pathways are interesting to you. The iSchool has a Community Profile page where you can learn more about what current and former students are doing in the profession. If you’ve taken a few classes, think of what assignments you liked and disliked to help inform your decision. I’m currently taking INFO 202 and found that I only have an interest in vocabulary design, so I probably am not going to want to pursue the Data Science pathway. If you are still undecided about which pathway to select, the iSchool has a tool to compare courses that meet multiple pathways. Once you have decided on one or two career pathways you might want to pursue, I highly recommend mapping out your schedule for the duration of the program, noting any classes that may be of interest to you and if they are only offered in certain semesters. If you have any uncertainties about your pathway or classes, reach out to a faculty advisor for assistance.

Course Planning Resources from the iSchool

There are many tools available to iSchool students to help ease the stress that can come with course planning. I suggest looking over the Course Catalog for an overview of all courses the iSchool offers MLIS students. The iSchool also offers many tools in their Advising Toolkit to help students decide on courses, no matter where they are on their MLIS journey. You can use the iSchool Unit Planning Tool and verify course rotations. If you’ve only taken one or two of the required courses that all iSchool students must take before enrolling in elective courses, there is also a tool to find elective classes that do not require one of the required classes.

If you are undecided between a few classes, you can also look up the syllabus of past courses to decide if the course meets your interests and if the course load is manageable. Check out the required reading materials as well. This is also often a great way to find out if the class is what you are looking for. Reviewing the instructor’s faculty profile is also a good idea to find out what the instructor is passionate about and if your professional interests align. You can also reach out to any fellow classmates about classes. I’ve asked fellow classmates, group members from class projects, and First Generation group members about courses. They provided me with a great student-led resource for classes, a Facebook group where iSchool students can utilize to get class recommendations.

It’s a good idea to also ensure that your proposed schedule meets the iSchool’s competency requirements. The iSchool offers two different tools to help students plan, the MLIS Course Descriptions and the MLIS Core Competency and Course Cross Reference. When I was planning my schedule for the iSchool, I used the course-planner spreadsheet in the Student Success Planner to calculate my competencies. I made a copy of the spreadsheet, which became my draft copy, and I input the courses I was interested in and their competencies in this spreadsheet. After a few schedule drafts, I finalized a good plan for my chosen pathway, Academic Librarianship. I then copied the final plan into the Student Success Planner but kept my draft copy in case I decided to move or pick different classes in the future. I found this to be an effective way to track competencies while planning my class schedule, using tools already provided to me by the iSchool.

Selecting Classes for the Upcoming Semester

Once the next semester’s courses and registration dates are available, you can finalize your course schedule. I recommend having alternate courses as well in case your first picks are filled before you can enroll. If one of your desired classes is filled up, join the waitlist. You never know if other students will drop the class and an opening becomes available. You can save time on enrollment day by pre-selecting your classes and saving them in the cart available in the student enrollment tool.

As the next semester looms, don’t worry too much about your upcoming classes. Remember that you can change your mind at any time before the drop deadline. If you start a class and discover you dislike the topic, take it as a learning opportunity on your MLIS journey. You still have the experience to put on future resumes, add to your e-portfolio, and gain more experience about the information organization profession.

Best of luck with your registration for next semester. If you have any questions or tips to share, please comment below.


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