Midterms are coming to an end, but before students can sprint toward spring semester, they have to register for classes.
Iowa State students are scheduling appointments with their academic advisers to discuss their graduation plans and receive their Registration Access Numbers (RAN). Through the chaos of homework and checking the course catalogue, it can be difficult to know where to start.
The first step in registration is knowing when it opens. Students can look under the “Current Stdnt Info” tab on AccessPlus to see their declared major, the name of their academic adviser and their registration start date.
“Your registration start date and time is set by a couple of different variables,” said Jennifer Owens, program director of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Administration. “But [it’s] mainly [decided] by the number of credits [a student has] earned.”
Credits carried in from other institutions factor into this number as well, meaning registration start dates are not solely based on how many years a student has attended Iowa State but more so based on their actual classifications.
“Make every attempt to register on time on the day that your registration opens,” Owens said. “If you are having trouble with that — so if you have some kind of hold on your registration — try to clear that up before you register. That’s where an [academic] adviser can be really helpful in directing you to some resources.”
Before students register for classes, they can utilize Iowa State’s course catalogue, which can be found on Iowa State’s Courses and Programs website.
The course catalogue contains a list of all courses offered at Iowa State, along with the description and prerequisites attached to each, according to Owens.
Students can also utilize Iowa State’s schedule planner on Iowa State’s Schedule of Classes website. The schedule planner is a program for students to look at how certain classes work together within a schedule and view how many seats are available in the class at that time.
If students are wondering how their credit is currently being applied to their degree and what requirements they have yet to fill, they can find out by clicking the “Degree Audit” tab on AccessPlus. Once a student has an idea of the classes they want to take, they should meet with their academic advisor.
“Talk to your advisor,” said Claire Cunningham, freshman in animal science. “That’s probably the most important thing to get because they definitely know what classes are here and they know who you are, so they’ll get you into classes that you’re more interested in.”
Owens said an academic adviser’s job is to partner with students to piece together classes into a broad plan. This plan includes the student’s goals for their college career and often extends beyond the path to a diploma, looking at what a student wants for their future career.
In addition to providing insight on class selection, academic advisers have the key for many students’ registration: the RAN. The RAN number can be obtained from an academic adviser and is required for a student to register for classes through AccessPlus. According to Owens, students in the College of Business do not need a RAN to register for classes but should try to meet with an advisor anyway.
“When [students] know when they are supposed to register, I recommend reaching out to their [academic] adviser at least a week before that [registration date] simply because [academic] adviser’s schedules at this time of year get really full, and you want to make sure you have time to get in and see your [academic] adviser,” Owens said.
Once a student knows their registration date, compiles a list of classes, meets with their academic adviser and receives their RAN, they can register for next semester classes. This can be done by logging in to AccessPlus and selecting “Class Registration,” where they will be prompted to enter their RAN before proceeding to select classes.
“The final step is [...] using the AccessPlus registration system,” Owens said. “That’s just making sure that you’re carefully checking your schedule after you created it to make sure it looks like what you thought you were adding.”
Owens and Cunningham said flexibility is key when registering for classes. Owens said it is possible classes a student wants to take will be filled by the time they register. With that in mind, Owens said she recommends students create a list of alternate classes to fill in for ones that may be unavailable.
“Registration also comes in a stressful time of the current semester for most students,” Owens said. “I would encourage those students who are feeling really stressed out to definitely use the resources at Iowa State, including their [academic] adviser."