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Class Registration FAQs and tips

ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
Registration is coming up next week for new transfer students and freshmen, so I wanted to create this thread for those that might have questions about classes and registration. For most schools, usually there is this hand-holding process during orientation where an adviser registers for you the first time, but not at UC-Berkeley. They obviously think highly of you and feel you can figure out things yourself. But nevertheless, this thread is here for discussing any questions you may have since some things are not entirely straightforward.

Some hints for registration:

1) Use the Schedule Planner to plan out your classes and load your Shopping Cart, or you can just go into Enrollment directly and load your classes and sections one at a time, using the class code (class code is the 5 digit class number in classes.berkeley.edu). Each Lecture/Discussion/Lab is one entity. I highly recommend to load up the Shopping Cart ahead of time. When it comes time to register, all you then have to do is to select your choices and hit the Enroll button. Discussion and Lab sections can fill up quickly so make sure you have some alternate options.

2) Berkeleytime.com is your friend. For purposes of registration, it is helpful for determining historical enrollment rates for a given class. (this is important in subsequent semesters for determining which classes to Phase I and which ones to Phase II). In addition, it lays out discussion and lab sections in a more readable way.

3) When you are loading your Shopping Cart, there is a Wait list if class is full check box. Make sure this box is checked if you want to be waitlisted if the class is full. Rule of thumb is that 10% of the enrollment for a given class usually drops, so if you've got a low-enough number, you'll probably get in.

4) Maybe an hour or two before you register, do look at classes.berkeley.edu to see if your classes are close to being full. The site does update numbers on a real-time basis. This is probably more of a stress builder more than anything, but on the other hand, you can plan accordingly ahead of time if a class all of a sudden becomes full, for example.
5) Try to register at your assigned time. You can't do it any sooner, and if you wait too long after your assigned time, prime discussion and/or lab sections may fill up.


Other things to note:

- Make sure you look at the Finals schedule for each class you plan to take. There is a handy link to the Finals schedule in the Enrollment section. You probably do not want to have more than 2 Finals for any one day. Furthermore, it's probably not a good idea to have a 7-10pm Final and then an 8-11am Final the next day.

- do note the location of each lecture/discussion/lab class. If you have back-to-back classes, make sure you can get to the second class within 10 minutes (or else you might have trouble finding a seat). Use Google Maps or other mapping software to figure out the walking distance between 2 buildings. Do note that the terrain of UC-Berkeley goes slightly uphill as you go from west to east.

- Most likely, your adviser(s) have mentioned to you that they recommend no more than 13-14 units for the very first semester, for the freshmen. (Strictly a recommendation, you don't have to follow it). A lot of the classes are 4 units, so if you register for 3 classes, that makes 12 units. If you need to add one or two units, there are many DeCal classes. These are fun classes and a lot of freshmen take these in the first semester as a way of getting adjusted to life at Berkeley. It is a separate registration system, you find the classes here: https://decal.berkeley.edu/

- usually there are not pre-requisite enforcement by CalCentral, but it is recommended you follow the recommendations for pre-requisites. Most of the enforcement are for upper division classes that do enforce pre-requisites before you can register, such as STAT 140, so most likely this doesn't affect you, for now. Do note though that on rare occasions, if a class is really oversubscribed and you are registered, you may be kicked out of the class anyhow if you do not have all the pre-requisites.

- many classes do put restrictions on who can register based on major, or based on your class status (1st year, 2nd year, etc, not by how many units you have). Usually for those types of classes, the restrictions are lifted at Adjustment time, which for Fall 2019 is on Monday August 19. For example, for all Cognitive Science classes, only Cognitive Science majors can enroll before Adjustment time. If you decide to register and you're not a CogSci major, you will be put on waitlist for that class (assuming you allow for waitlisting).

- a class is not considered registered for until the lecture and discussion and/or lab section has been chosen and you are either enrolled or waitlisted. So for example, if the lecture class is open but the discussion is full and you didn't check the waitlist box, the class is not registered.

- whether you are enrolled for a class or waitlisted, your unit allocation is allocated. So for this go around, you can choose up to 17 units worth of classes. If you want to go beyond that, you need to wait until Adjustment time. (In subsequent semesters, you will learn about Phase I and Phase II, which have different unit limits, 13 for Phase I and 17 for Phase II).

- most lower division CS and EE classes usually have a 999 code for discusssion and/or lab sections. For these sections, even though the discussion and/or lab sections are listed, you sign up as 999 for discussion and 999 for lab (if applicable). When it comes time to actually register for these sections, you either can go to any discussion of your choice, or for the lower division classes, there will be a separate process using a different signup software such as Signup Genius.

- Do note that for Electrical Engineering classes EE16A and EE16B, there is a 999 for Discussion section but you need to sign up for a specific day and time for the 3-Hour Lab section. (Word of warning: Lab times go away quickly for EE16A, so don't dawdle with this when it comes to registering, if your choice of lab time is already full, pick a free lab time and register even if it is at an ungodly time of day, which beats not being able to register at all for the class. New labs are usually added if there is too much demand).

- If you have the need to swap classes or change the discussion/lab section, you can use the Swap function rather than dropping and adding a class. This has the very very very major benefit of retaining your current class in the event that you cannot add your new class or get out of your original section that you applied for. You definitely want to use this function if you want to swap out a class or a section that is already full, so that you don't lose the class just in case.
https://sis.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/swap.pdf

- some classes, such as Biology 1A, require that you to co-register for Biology 1AL (Biology 1A Laboratory) as well. So it's actually 4 entities that you register for - Biology 1A Lecture, Biology 1A Discussion, Biology 1AL Lecture, and Biology 1AL Laboratory. Fun, fun, fun.

- for the daring registrants, many classes will allow for overlapping classes (a class or discussion or lab whose time goes into another class), or even classes at the same time. Some classes will not allow this. For obvious reasons, it's not recommended to do this, but for some, there will be reasons for doing this, which I won't get into.
edited July 20
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Replies to: Class Registration FAQs and tips

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77095 replies671 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    - do note the location of each lecture/discussion/lab class. If you have back-to-back classes, make sure you can get to the second class within 10 minutes (or else you might have trouble finding a seat). Use Google Maps or other mapping software to figure out the walking distance between 2 buildings. Do note that the terrain of UC-Berkeley goes slightly uphill as you go from west to east.

    https://gmap-pedometer.com/ can show you elevation gain/loss as well as distance between buildings. If you are willing to run between classes, you may want to get a running backpack.
    - Most likely, your adviser(s) have mentioned to you that they recommend no more than 13-14 units for the very first semester, for the freshmen. (Strictly a recommendation, you don't have to follow it).

    Note that an average of 15 units per semester is needed to graduate in 8 semesters. AP credit can provide a buffer against unit shortage, but note that UC policy is not to give credit for both AP and a college course that covers the same material (e.g. if you have AP calculus AB credit, you should not expect to get both that credit and credit for Math 1A or 16A if you take one of those courses instead of Math 1B or 16B).

    AP credit for UCB is listed at http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/exam-credit/ap-credits/berkeley/index.html . However, for L&S departments and majors, you need to look up on each department web site; a summary is at https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/21547888/#Comment_21547888 (some links may be out of date, so look on department web sites).

    If you want to use AP credit to fulfill a prerequisite to a more advanced course, it can be helpful to check your knowledge of the course to be skipped by trying its old final exam. Many old final exams can be found at https://tbp.berkeley.edu/courses/ .
    - many classes do put restrictions on who can register based on major, or based on your class status (1st year, 2nd year, etc, not by how many units you have).

    What class (frosh, soph, junior, senior) one is can be based on either units or semesters. In the past, there were references to "class standing" (by units) and "class level" (by semesters); these may not necessarily be current terminology.

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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    For class registration, I see more of the “class level” restrictions. Never have seen any “class standing” restrictions. For example, STAT 102 had a restriction that only 4th Year attendees could enroll, all others registering would go on waitlist. CS 61A allocates 1184 spaces to Freshman and Sophomore (defined in this case as class level) Undeclared students.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    so registration for transfers has begun, and I see reports of L&S CS transfers being put on waitlist for EE16A. That's because new L&S CS-wannabee transfers get no priority for registering for this class. Seems a bit harsh, but yeah, L&S CS transfers not declared yet wanting to take EE16A this semester will have to wait until adjustment time to get cleared for this class. Which probably means having less than desirable times for labs.
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  • disneygirl14disneygirl14 23 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    how important is it to get on the instant you have access and how will you know what time that is?

    My first year student can register tomorrow, but it is unclear what exact time that will be.

    Any insights?

    Thank you!
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Hi @disneygirl14 as far as registration time goes, you can log on CalCentral, go to the Academics tab, go to the right side of the screen (Class Enrollment), click on Term Fall 2019 if it's not already showing, and under Activity 4. It should show the date and time for your daughter's enrollment.

    As for getting on exactly at the time specified, for the most part you should be able to get pretty much any classes earmarked for freshmen even if you're a few hours late or a day late. In my post #3, that was an issue for transfer students and it doesn't apply for incoming freshmen. The issues that you *might* encounter is more of 1) getting the exact discussion section that you want for a particular class and 2) for small classes such as English R&C classes, some popular classes may get full in a hurry. Since discussion sections are 25-40 people generally, they can fill up fairly quickly, but unless the discussion section is at 2pm and the rest of them are at 8 or 9am, it's unlikely that even a discussion section would fill up that quickly.
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  • joginthefogjoginthefog 10 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    *Groan* . Freshman daughter just registered and got three of her classes, but for the Bioengineering one it shows that the class is Open but on her class list it shows she is waitlisted. Is that normal? Do they hold spots for other reasons? She's confused and not sure if she should try signing up for something else instead, if she is even allowed to. Thanks for any advice.
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  • joginthefogjoginthefog 10 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    For class registration, I see more of the “class level” restrictions. Never have seen any “class standing” restrictions. For example, STAT 102 had a restriction that only 4th Year attendees could enroll, all others registering would go on waitlist. CS 61A allocates 1184 spaces to Freshman and Sophomore (defined in this case as class level) Undeclared students.

    Sorry - I see what you wrote above already - this must be one of those restrictions. Thanks @ProfessorPlum168 !
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  • joginthefogjoginthefog 10 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    Advisor fixed the restriction. Hope everyone's reg is successful. Thank you for all the advice and tips.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @joginthefog yeah that happens sometimes, where the enrollment specialist for a given major sometimes puts in a restriction that shouldn't be there, or more often, doesn't take out a temporary restriction. Glad your daughter was able to get all 4 of her desired classes in.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 24
    well, the day is almost over for freshmen registration, and a whopping 1,041 freshmen signed up for the flagship CS class CS61A class so far today. Add this with the 235 transfer students who signed up earlier this week plus Phase I continuing student signup and the total is 1,415 as of right now. Phase II for continuing students starts next week, so the class size probably will be expanded to 2,000 again this year. Which will probably make this the largest class of any university in the US. Undoubtedly, all of you who signed up for CS 61A will probably spend the first few lectures in the performing theatre Zellerbach Hall, which seats 2,600. That was the case last year.
    edited July 24
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  • disneygirl14disneygirl14 23 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 25
    My daughter got into a Freshman seminar when it said 30 students.... it now says the enrollment is open to 180. This can't possibly be correct, right?
    edited July 25
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @disneygirl14 you've found the ever-changing class/lab expansion paradigm that happens all the time during registration. Yes, lecture sections and labs sometimes open up/expand in size when they see that demand is getting up there (assuming there are extra resources to handle the expansion). Or once in a while there was a mistake by the enrollment manager for the major and it gets corrected along the way. Of course, bad things can happen too - for example, the COGSCI 131 class got cancelled last week, which frustrated a number of students.
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  • disneygirl14disneygirl14 23 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you for the reply.
    Turns out it was a mess up by the admin staff in the department. So now the seminar she was so excited to be in, she is now 7th on the wait list, which I can only assume means she won't get it. Of course that meant she didn't pick a different seminar when she could have and nothing left over interests here.

    Nothing going to be done to "make it right." Like offer the 40+students who got screwed over first priority in the spring, or offer to do the seminar in the spring. Just some secretary's lame email about how "things happen." When "things happen" like that in my job people get fired. Not a good start for Cal in my eyes.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 3843 replies83 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    @disneygirl14 lots of movement happens in all the classes. It's always possible classes expand and everyone gets off the waitlist, or enough people drop and people get off the waitlist. But yeah, when you deal with a registration system that has all kinds of rules and exceptions, you're bound to get settings that get messed up. The joy of being in a huge school. Just today, the opposite happened, a bunch of undeclared students got into a class that was reserved for declared students, which filled up the class. And the person in charge of enrollments is out on vacation until next week. Fun stuff.
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