Do’s and don‘ts of Reg Day
Tips for a tip-top schedule
Registration Day (Reg Day) is approaching, and choosing classes for the next term has always been one of my favorite activities. As an undergrad, I was an avid user of tools like planner, firehose, and courseroad. Planning the perfect schedule™ is a skill I still haven’t perfected, but here are some do’s and don’ts I’ve compiled over the years that might help you on your way to schedule mastery.
Do yourself a favor and double check your degree requirements. Unless you’re one of the lucky few with no requirements left, make sure the classes you’re signing up for are going to help you make progress towards your degree. I know this seems like a no-brainer, but forgetting about a sneaky GIR or major requirement can cause last minute stress.
Don’t stay registered for a popular oversubscribed class that you know you are going to drop. It’s not very nice for folks who genuinely want or need to take the class.
Do ask upperclassmen for advice on classes. But take everything they say with a grain of salt. Classes vary from semester to semester — the professor, class structure, or syllabus might have changed since the upperclassman’s time. Do some research before committing to a class. Look at course evaluations and old Stellar sites; try googling the class if it isn’t hosted on Stellar.
Do use cool tools like Firehose, planner, and CourseRoad to stay organized both for the semester and in your grand scheme of getting-an-MIT-degree.
Don’t double- (or triple- or quadruple-) book lectures. If you absolutely can’t help it, you should make sure there’s a solid OpenCourseWare version of the course and make a schedule you’ll stick to for watching the lectures. It’s easy to get super behind when you don’t have a real-life, real-time professor holding you accountable.
Do make sure your schedule has some breaks. It might seem tempting to finish the day an hour earlier by packing lectures and recitations back to back. But if you can, allow yourself an hour-or-so break in the middle of crammed days. Get some food. Rest your brain. Hell-week-you will thank you for it.
Don’t sign up for tons of morning classes if you’re not a morning person (I do this every year and the struggle is real). Maybe you’re one of the special few whom this will help motivate to get up early, but it is more likely that you’ll just miss a lot of lectures.
Do make sure to take into account reported time spent in each of the classes you’re signing up for. All units are not created equal! Your 54-unit course load may well turn out to be more like 72 units with a particular combination of classes. Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Let me know if you have any other tips!