Talk me down from ledge re registration

<p>I need help understanding how registration works and perhaps the realities of a state school. So I spent some time tonight in Connect Carolina looking at class sections --with my son's okay and password. He's coming in the fall as a non-honors first year student and won't attend CTOPs until late August (b/c we live on west coast). As ONE example I looked up math sections for calculus 231 and 232. All sections of both of those classes for Fall 2010 are at capacity and already show a wait list. Are these math classes not typically ones taken by first year students in the fall? Are the seats taken already by a mix of sophomores and first year honors students? Is it true that honors students have already had a chance to register for all of their classes? Is that why I see that most of the Honors First Year Seminars are full? And are honors students the reason why some other FYS have more seats taken already than what supposedly would have been made available on a pro-rated basis to incoming students who attended the first CTOPS session? I've got gut wrenching buyer's remorse right now. Can any current students talk me down and provide some perspective here. Be gentle. Thank you.</p>

<p>Part of why so many classes show up on ConnectCarolina as full/on waitlist is because UNC reserves a certain number of spaces in classes for each CTOPs session. Because of this, for example, pretty much all the FYS are showing up as full, when in reality, they aren't. Many other lower level classes, such as ENGL 101/102 and the calc 231/232, are included in that as well.</p>

<p>heyitslauriebeth: I get what you are saying about the FYS. And it makes sense to me--if they are really releasing one or two seats per FYS per CTOPS session--but I don't understand why some seminars already have 5 students registered after just one CTOPS session if there are something like 17 more CTOPS sessions to go this summer. Is it because incoming honors students have already had their pick? Several of the math sections had 33 of 33 seats full. Maybe you're right . . . maybe these classes have more like 50 students in them and more seats will be incrementally released over the summer. I had thought they were smaller sections but I could be wrong about this. Anyone else?</p>

<p>Incoming honors students ONLY had their pick of honors FYS and honors courses for fall semester. We're required to take an honors FYS--we can't take a regular one, which kind of stinks. We've also been able to pick honors courses, which also shouldn't make a difference to your son.</p>

<p>I haven't been to CTOPS, and I'm also kind of perturbed at the whole scheduling ordeal. My friend got back yesterday and told me how it worked. He said that they had a lot of classes set as "full" with a waiting list because (as lauriebeth already said) they're reserving those slots for incoming freshman. However, he also said that certain classes didn't open up until certain CTOPS sessions came around. For example, if there were three chem 101 classes, each with a different teacher, the first would be open for incoming freshman until this class is full. The next chem 101 class would then be opened for students at future CTOPS sessions. Granted, everyone will have a chance to sign up for introductory chem; however, you don't exactly get to pick the teacher you want. Though I may have misunderstood what he told me, I don't think this is fair. I've spent a long time researching teachers and would like to have my pick!</p>

<p>I'm echoing what everyone else has said - don't be worried. That said, it's always good to have lots of back up plans.</p>

<p>Since this is your son's first semester I guarantee you there are a ton of courses he could take this semester that he'd have no trouble registering for that also would go towards his graduation requirements.</p>

<p>A good idea when registering at any school is to make an excel doc with classes and their times, along with back-ups at the same times. There are tools on the website that make this super easy. Once your son picks a major it's also useful to have a doc like that.</p>

<p>Anyway, even if all this CTOPs stuff doesn't work out and your son can't register for a class that he wants, that is OKAY. Tell him to start emailing the professor and show up the first day of classes and try and be added then. Persistence pays off. I did come in with a lot of credits but I have gotten into every single class I ever wanted at Carolina. It sometimes takes extra effort but it can be done for sure.</p>

<p>As a Momma Bear I understand wanting your son to have a great education, but don't be too scared of the bureaucracy. It just takes a little figuring out but then it's fine.</p>

<p>You are right to worry, but wrong to be on the ledge.</p>

<p>The fact is that UNC Chapel Hill is a state school with some budget woes. So undergraduate offerings get impacted in all sorts of ways: there are fewer grad students being admitted, and since grad students do a very large proportion of the 100- and 200-level undegrad teaching, that will impact the availability of courses a bit. On the other hand, departments get money for teaching undergrads, so they have an incentive to increase class sizes.</p>

<p>The overall impact seems to have been more and larger big lecture classes with several grad students, and fewer medium-large 40-seat classes taught by single grad students. Don't be fooled by the fact that a class doesn't have TAs: in the humanities at least, if you see a 100- or 200-level class with about 35-40 seats, it is likely being taught by a grad student.</p>

<p>A complicated game is played every semester: people know that scheduling at UNC sucks, to they over-register. This makes the problem worse, and classes appear fuller than they are. But within a week or two, things usually shake themselves out.</p>

<p>But if you were looking for small-group teaching, where lots of people get their first choice of classes, then you picked the wrong university. Very few universities have the resources to offer that.</p>

<p>Cloying's advice to ask to be added is good, though I would add a note of caution: do not act entitled, like you have a right to enter the class. Remember that you are asking the teacher for a large favour if you ask her to add you above and beyond the enrollment limit for the class: to teach you and grade your papers for no extra money or anything.</p>

<p>So my advice would be to be very polite about it. I know several grad students (comes with being old) who generally refuse such requests, unless the student is very polite and has a very good reason. And it is their absolute right to refuse.</p>

<p>I just got back from CTOPS. The night before registration I went to the library and also looked up all the classes I wanted on the Student Center. Mine all showed up as full and I proceeded to freak out, but everything was pretty much fine at registration on Friday. There is also a drop-add period right before the beginning of the semester. My OL said that he changed all of his classes during that period in his freshman year.</p>

<p>^ Right, it actually spills a couple of weeks into the semester. This is the 'game' I was talking about.</p>

<p>Don't be afraid of the 8am class! 8am classes often have the strongest students (those who aren't afraid of getting up early and working hard) as well as some of the weakest (the slackers who didn't register in time and all the other times were full).</p>

<p>Okay, I'm off the ledge now thanks to a night's sleep and all of your thoughtful feedback. I really appreciate the explanations, tips, and assurances. Thanks.</p>

<p>I checked the classes last week; they were all open. Checked again yesterday and started freaking out because the ones I wanted were full =/</p>

<p>Thanks for the advice!</p>

<p>Registration at CTOPS is usually a **** show for everybody, so don't panic - your schedule can be fixed during drop/add and by emailing people (and being super nice). Everything works out the way it's supposed to work out.</p>

<p>And your son doesn't sound too fussed if he isn't looking up his own classes, lol, so you shouldn't be either!</p>

<p>I was trying to figure out my schedule and I couldn't figure out one thing--- What is "level three" of a foreign language? Does that mean successful completion of 203 or 204, or does it mean that an upper level 250 should be completed?</p>

<p>Jambaby, you're right. I am embarrassed today by the hysterical tone of my post. I think I freaked last night at the idea of having committed to paying $37,000 a year (OOS) for classes that appeared to me near impossible to get. I do think one of the byproducts of going to a larger school is learning to navigate its bureaucracy. Time for me to stop navigating/fussing and for my son to begin! Cheers.</p>

<p>Don't worry about it - CTOPS just about drove my mom to drink and we're in-state! It really is stressful for everybody. I don't think anyone can really relax until it's a few weeks into the semester. He will be fine! : )</p>

<p>Try not to worry, when my daughter registered for classes three years ago...everything she wanted was full. She picked other classes at CTOPS and then changed some of the classes during the drop/add period. I will be back at CTOPS on June 21st and 22nd with my son...this time I will try to not worry as much as I need with my daughter.</p>

<p>smbsmom, My family had 4 kids over the last 7 years (last CTOPS for us is next week) at UNC. At least one of them has registered for classes every semester, including summers, and they have always managed to get the classes they really wanted. Yes, it does take persistence, working with profs & some flexibility using drop/add. There are a few tips that might make life easier.
-signup for Pick-a-Prof and use it to get some feedback on classes/teachers students like/dislike</p>

<p>-if a seat is open & the student has reasonable interest in taking it, go ahead and register. My kids usually overload to start the semester & then tweak their schedule in drop/add. They may even keep an extra class until they decide which one they don't want to keep - like that elective that sounds interesting but has 15 books and 6 papers and is going to take too much time away from the classes you really need to ace for your major...</p>

<p>-do all the things suggested earlier, go sit in the class, talk to prof, email, plead you case (politely). Also, sometimes it works to coordinate a drop/add with a fellow student. A few times, my kids knew someone who was planning to drop & they wanted to add. This works best if there is not a long waitlist & you work out the seat swap directly with the prof.</p>

<p>-especially for incoming students, don't pre-order the textbook bundle from the bookstore. Yes, the bookstore will let you return books if you drop the class within the alloted time period, but the UNC bookstore is almost certainly the most expensive way to buy books. We cut our textbook cost by several $100s/per student/per term by searching for the best used book deals on amazon.com, textbooks.com & bn.com. This summer, my daughter started renting books on chugg.com. ie. a $200 chem book can be rented for $40 for the whole semester. Some classes will have course packs that are only available at the bookstore & possibly the Rams Bookstore down Franklin St. The library will have the books for reference until you get your copy.</p>