When I was a freshman, my roommate and I woke up at 6:15 on registration day. We sat in our beds, propped up by pillows, with our laptops open. Each of us had a notebook open containing our student ID numbers and a list of classes we wanted most. At 6:30 it begun.
We frantically entered our student ID numbers, and attempted to sign into the online registration platform. The servers slowed to a halt as every freshman did the same thing. The page loaded in slow motion. My roommate prayed quietly.
Then the message appeared. “Connection to Server Failed: Please sign in again.”
Shit. Back... Reload… Reload… Sign in…. “Connection to Server Failed: Please sign in again.” Shit.
The hall –normally dead quiet at 6:30 am- erupted with swearing, praying and crying. It sounded like there was a massacre going on in my hallway – except every 15 minutes someone cheered.
Finally, I arrived on the registration page. I entered the classes I picked out. Alas, half of the classes I wanted were full. So I entered the backup classes. The server crashed again–
You get the idea - it’s miserable. I ended up in great classes. But not the ones I most wanted.
Last spring I didn’t wake up for registration – I slept in. Now, I’m in four classes – my four first choices. I've developed a new method for getting into class.
ONE: Two weeks before registration: Email your professor. Introduce yourself and express interest in the class. Explain why you are interested. Ask to be put on the class waitlist (even though registration hasn’t started). This email can be short.
Often times this was enough to guarantee me a spot in a class. Several times I was rejected – I was once told I was 40th on the wait list at this point.
TWO: Two days before registration: Again, email your professor. Again, express interest. Talk about more than the course description. Reference a friend who speaks highly of the class or professor. Reference a paper that the prof has written. Reference a course evaluation you have read. Explain (genuinely) why you are interested in the class.
THREE: On registration day: sleep in
FOUR: Later on registration day: Email professor saying something like this:
“I am not enrolled in your class. It’s full. I’m still extremely interested. I’ll see you on the first day of class – hopefully you can find space for me.”
FIVE: Show up. If the professor asks everyone not enrolled to leave – don’t leave. If she asks you specifically to leave – then leave. But show up next time.
SIX: Repeat five if needed.
SEVEN: Repeat six if needed.
The method requires a lot of emailing. Some might prefer waiting till registration day and winging it - sometimes you get lucky.
But if you feel strongly about a class, writing emails is easy. And getting kicked out of class a few times is easy.
And you'll get in every time - well... at least I have so far.